May 31, 2018 at 1:45pm
Dane Lisser

Millikin graduates share their Big Blue experience

From their favorite moment to their favorite restaurant, we caught up with five graduates from the Millikin University Class of 2018 who shared thoughts on their Big Blue experience and why Millikin holds a special place in their hearts.

When asked about his greatest accomplishment at Millikin, Benjamin Viette, a theatre major from Belvidere, Ill., said his work with Shakespeare Corrected, a program that brings Millikin students together with incarcerated and disadvantaged populations to collaborate and create a theatrical experience, stood out the most.

The program is intended to inspire transformation and redemption in students, participants and their families.

"We performed a Shakespeare production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and myself, and three other students, were co-directors," said Viette. "It was one of the most rewarding and one of the most challenging events that we took on because it absolutely applies to everything that we had to do."

Destiny Smith, a sociology major from Willowbrook, Ill., was asked to describe Millikin in three words. "Unique, diverse, extravagant," said Smith.

When asked what makes Millikin stand out as a school, McKinley Paratore, a digital media marketing major from Oswego, Ill., said, "I think Millikin is so caring and so wonderful towards it students and it gives them so many opportunities that a lot of bigger universities may not offer. The biggest thing that Millikin has given me is Performance Learning – without it I don't think I'd have the job that I have now and I don't think I'd have the relationships that I have with my professors. I think Performance Learning is what makes Millikin stand out."

More than 300 new Millikin University graduates were honored during Millikin's 114th Commencement Ceremony held May 20 at the Decatur Civic Center. Millikin's Class of 2018 received more than just diplomas during the ceremony; the new graduates received advice from speakers on embracing challenges and being confident in their abilities.

"I think Millikin provides you with a genuine experience," said Viette. "I think you are allowed to be your 100 percent authentic self without any apology. Millikin emulates values that are ethical, values that support inclusivity and diversity on campus, and Millikin allows you to apply every aspect of your life to the classes around you."