Students gear up for finals week during annual Cookie Party
Students, faculty and staff members at Millikin University gathered in the University Commons on the afternoon of Dec. 8 to take part in the return of a beloved holiday tradition, the annual Cookie Party.
The banquet rooms of the University Commons showcased the baking talents of many throughout the University community, with thousands of cookies for all to sample. The event also featured holiday music provided by students from the Millikin School of Music.
Last year, Millikin celebrated the Cookie Party with a virtual event, but for this year's Cookie Party, students like seniors Geo Tapia and Ally Banks took the opportunity to relax before the start of finals week.
"This is the most beloved day at Millikin," Banks said in an interview with the Herald & Review. "If you're not completely full, you're not doing the Cookie Party right."
Tapia added, "All of the faculty chip in and make cookies for the students out of the goodness of their hearts."
The first Cookie Party, then referred to as the Christmas Tea, was hosted on Dec. 13, 1934. The event was hosted by the Millikin Dames, an organization for women on Millikin's staff and wives of faculty members and trustees.
The Christmas Tea, an annual holiday event in honor of Millikin students, was held in the Gorin Library until 1960. In 1960, the location of the tea was moved to the University Center. In 1964, the Christmas Tea was renamed the Cookie Party. The Cookie Party was then held in the Richards Treat University Center until the opening of the University Commons.
"This is something that we always do at the end of the fall semester," said Paul Lidy, dean of campus life at Millikin. "It's a way to say thank you to our faculty, staff, and, especially our students at the end of a hard first semester, trying to get them geared up for finals week."
Approximately 500 dozen cookies were donated by faculty and staff. "We also have local bakeries that we also order and purchase from as well," Lidy said. Along with cookies, hot cocoa and punch were distributed to waiting students.
Lidy, a Millikin Class of 2004 graduate, attended Cookie Day all four of his academic years. "It brings our community together at a time when we're trying to get ready to celebrate for the holidays and wish all our students, faculty and staff a happy holiday and best of luck on finals," he said.
This year was the first Cookie Party for Millikin President Dr. Jim Reynolds and his wife Sue, who greeted the students as they entered the banquet rooms in the University Commons. "We weren't able to do this last year," he said. "We did a lot of cookie parties by Zoom. We're just trying to get to know people. Being able to be open a little bit more than we were last fall, that makes it a lot better."
"I'm so glad it's back," Banks said. "It's the morale booster before finals, the final push to get through."