Millikin University President Dr. Jim Reynolds announces retirement plans

Reynolds has served as Millikin’s 16th President since July 2020.

Jim Reynolds

DECATUR, Ill. -- Millikin University's 16th President, Dr. Jim Reynolds, has announced plans to retire effective June 30, 2025.  

Reynolds was elected the 16th president of Millikin in July 2020. Through his leadership, Millikin University withstood the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and led the restructuring and revitalization of Millikin’s financial future, preparing the University for a new era of expanding enrollment and financial stability. 

“After spending time reflecting on my career in higher education and with input from my wife Sue, I realize that the next chapter of my life needs to shift towards more focus on our family,” President Reynolds said. “Millikin is a special place and will always hold a special place in our hearts. But there is a season for everything, and it’s time for me to be with my family as Sue and I celebrate the joy of being grandparents. I am proud to have been a small part of the history of this institution and to come back to my hometown and for that, I will be forever grateful.”    

Jim Reynolds
Millikin President Jim Reynolds and his wife Sue.

Dr. Reynolds' leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic helped Millikin steer through the complexities of remote learning, prioritizing student health and safety, while maintaining a vibrant university community. 

The pandemic changed the face of higher learning for every institution in the United States, and Millikin has been able to navigate those uncertain waters while some other Midwestern universities have faced closure. Through the implementation of the Millikin Tuition Promise, which provides a reduced tuition rate of $26,000 for full-time undergraduate students, and the Big Blue Pledge: Illinois Free Tuition Program, which is an investment in Illinois students who may lack the financial options necessary to pursue a private college education, Millikin is positioned to continue its pledge to deliver on the promise of excellence into the future.  

Jim Reynolds
Millikin President Jim Reynolds speaks at the 2023 Day of Service.

"President Reynolds's tenure at Millikin University has been marked by his unwavering commitment to student success and advancements in academic affairs. His genuine investment in each student's journey has created a supportive and thriving campus community for each person advancing their future through education. As he retires, we thank him and his wife, Sue, for their relentless dedication and impact on the university and our lives as students and beyond," said Maggie Schrage, a junior Political Science and Philosophy major from Breese, IL.   

Millikin has also strengthened its academic partnerships, entering into a new articulation agreement with Richland Community College, which will improve the transfer process for students who have earned an Associate’s degree with a 2.0 cumulative GPA. It will also allow more Central Illinois students to experience Millikin’s unique brand of Performance Learning, which puts students in real-world educational experiences and allows them to take real risks and find outstanding successes.  

“As Millikin is quickly approaching its 125th anniversary, under President Reynolds’ leadership, the university has made significant strides since COVID to improve our financial health and prepare us for many more years to come,” said Millikin Board of Trustees Chairman Ronald Branch ’81. “We appreciate the difficulties that President Reynolds has faced in his tenure, and we are thankful for the leadership he has shown in guiding Millikin through those challenges. President Reynolds has been a phenomenal leader and I look forward to him completing his time with us in the same standard of excellence exhibited thus far.” 

Jim Reynolds
Millikin President Jim Reynolds, his wife Sue and their two dogs Phoebe and Georgia.

During President Reynolds’ tenure, he oversaw the opening of the $29 million new Center for Theatre & Dance, the construction of the new $3.2 million Health Sciences Center, and the groundbreaking of the forthcoming $12.3 million Rathje Athletic Center, which is expected to be completed fall 2025.  

The Millikin Board of Trustees is considering the next steps and will communicate those in the coming weeks.