June 28, 2019 at 10:00am
Dane Lisser

Members of the Class of 2019 share Big Blue memories

Commencement is one of the most celebrated events. It's a time when graduates embark on the next chapter of their journey, leaving with the skills they've developed to follow their passions and engage in exciting challenges.

It's also a time for reflection – a chance for graduates to think back on their accomplishments and favorite memories. So we decided to catch up with a few graduates from the Millikin University Class of 2019 to recap their Big Blue experience, from describing Millikin in "three words" to impersonating their favorite professor.

Jordan Griglin, an elementary education graduate from Cape Coral, Fla., says Dr. Ngozi Onuora, associate professor of education at Millikin, played an integral part during her college experience. "She's always been there to support me, to inspire me, and to show me how to be a better teacher," she said.

When asked to choose a celebrity to be the face of Millikin, Azhalaun Haley quickly responded with former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama. "She's a very powerful woman," said Haley of Rockford, Ill. Haley earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology.

"Through my experiences at Millikin, I've grown to be a more powerful woman within myself and I'm excited to see how I can use those attributes that I've learned in the real world," she said.

Griglin was also asked to describe Millikin in three words. "Artistic, leadership, creative," she said. When asked the same question, MBA graduate Dwight Brown of Chicago simply said, "Great Performance Learning."

Communication graduate Sophia Schwalbach was asked to give a word of advice to the freshmen version of herself. "I would say the most important thing you can do during your years in school is networking and landing internships because you don't know where that can take you," she said. "Focus on yourself because at the end of the day what's going to land you a job is the people you met, the impressions you made and the projects you completed. Word hard because everything happens for a reason."

In May 2019, more than 300 Millikin University graduates crossed the stage at the Decatur Civic Center to receive their degrees. It was a momentous time for the Class of 2019 highlighted by incredible speakers, including student speaker Gabby Catlin and Judge Lisa Holder-White.

"It costs nothing to care for people and it's worth everything," Caitlin said. "I've been at Millikin from 2015 to 2019, and I've seen a lot of growth and change. You have the power to change your life and take it in whatever direction you want."