November 6, 2015 at 12:00pm

Millikin University awarded for Grounds Management Excellence

2015 Green Star Awards competitionThe Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) recognized Millikin University with an Honor Award in the Society's 2015 Green Star Awards competition. The award was given in the University and College Grounds (Small) category for exceptional grounds maintenance.

Winners were honored during the Society's 2015 Awards Dinner held Oct. 23 in conjunction with the School of Grounds Management & GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 21-24.

The Green Star Awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence, complimenting other national landscape award programs that recognize outstanding landscape design and construction. Overall, PGMS presented six Grand Awards, its highest honor, as well as 21 Honor Awards and two Merit Awards in 10 categories of competition. To view a complete list of winners, visit

"What this means for Millikin and for Aramark is that we have a top tier grounds program," said Ken Jordan, director of facility services at Millikin University. "It not only recognizes how our campus looks but how we operate our grounds and landscape program. We couldn't do it if the University didn't place grounds as a priority. We're using our resources efficiently and it's making an impact on campus."

The Landscaping & Grounds Department at Millikin University strives to further promote the mission, vision, and values of Millikin through its campus environment. The department is responsible for a number of duties across Millikin's 75-acre campus such as proper mowing, leaf removal and snow plow operation.

"The fact that we are doing the right things, and we're on the cutting edge as far as what we're doing, should make the Millikin campus feel proud," says Jordan.

Millikin Grounds Manager Verneil Phillips '08 notes, "It's rewarding for us to see how the campus gets recognized, especially from students and parents who visit Millikin. The extra work that we do during each season makes a difference."

2015 Green Star Awards competition 

Sustainability has been a new focus for Millikin University over the past two years. Major projects include a permeable paver plaza and installation of rain sensors on all irrigation controllers.

As part of the recent updates on Millikin's campus, the newly renovated arrival court has a permeable paver surface, planter benches, and an ornamental fountain. The brick pattern was chosen to create visual interest, blending the new technology of permeable pavers with the traditional brick look that unifies all buildings on campus. A main component of the newly refurbished arrival court is a fountain made of three basalt columns equipped with a programmable LED lighting package capable of producing 48 different colors.

"One of the things Millikin was commended for was our ability to work with the administration to get funding for other projects that are outside the normal landscape scope," said Jordan. "This includes the permeable paver system and the fountain at the arrival court. This award is a credit to the grounds crew that does the work every day and to Millikin for helping provide the resources."

2015 Green Star Awards competition

About the Professional Grounds Management Society

Founded in 1911, PGMS is an individual membership society of grounds professionals dedicated to advancing the grounds management profession through education and professional development. Further information on PGMS, the Green Star Award Program and the annual School of Grounds Management & GIE+EXPO is available online at