April 13, 2016 at 1:30pm

Patrick White

The Millikin University Board of Trustees has extended the contract of President Dr. Patrick E. White through June 30, 2020.

President White was named the 15th president of Millikin University on Oct. 9, 2013 after serving as interim president, a position he began in July 2013. From the first day President White stepped on Millikin's campus, he embraced the campus community and the challenges the University was facing. Through his leadership, Millikin University has been revitalized and reimagined, building a solid foundation for growth and success.

President White's time at Millikin has been marked by many successes, such as the completion of the "Transform MU" capital campaign (TMU), the design and conception of the new University Commons and balanced budgets when deficits were projected.

"President White came to Millikin with years of diverse experience in higher education. Through hard work and collaborative leadership, he has earned the confidence of the Board and the University," said James R. Neff, chairman of the Millikin Board of Trustees. "At the core of every decision made under his leadership is to advance the mission and vision of Millikin University and to hold forth, in his words, our 'best imagination' of Millikin's future."

During President White's time, Millikin University broke ground on its new University Commons on Nov. 6, 2015. The 87,000-square-foot facility is now under construction. The new University Commons is one of three building projects under Millikin University's $85 million "Transform MU" capital campaign.

"I am grateful for the confidence that the Board has shown in my leadership and the directions we need to move in the future," President White said. "I am exhilarated by the support, innovation and creativity so many have offered Millikin and me in the last three years, and I am excited about the good work we need to do in the coming days. Now we can continue to engage the entire Millikin community, including alumni and friends, in planning and performing a great future for this great University."

In October 2014, Millikin University officials announced that the TMU campaign had exceeded its monetary goal 14 months early. At that time, President White had noted that the campaign would continue through its planned conclusion at the end of 2015 in order to raise remaining funds for the three campus building projects: the new University Commons, a new Center for Theatre and Dance, and an Exercise Science and Sport Pavilion. As of Dec. 31, the TMU campaign's final total reached more than $95 million, with more than $20 million in endowed scholarships.

"In the coming months and years we will continue to work together to increase enrollment and engage alumni and friends of Millikin in a new commitment to Millikin's growth and advancement," President White said. "Millikin has a great history and in the excellence embodied in our commitment to Performance Learning we have a great story to tell. The Board of Trustees, my leadership team, and I are committed to leading Millikin to new heights."

President White added, "We are already moving of course to complete the extraordinary University Commons. We look to complete the design, secure the funding, and finish construction on the Center for Theatre and Dance. We will create a master plan for the future of athletics at Millikin and complete major phases of that plan by building a softball complex and a baseball complex on campus and address comprehensive needs in athletics for new and renovated facilities. These projects will require a new capital campaign coming on the heels of our great success in the Transform MU campaign. We have begun the planning for that work."

Before Millikin, Dr. White served seven years as the 15th president of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind. During his tenure at Wabash, Dr. White developed a student-focused strategic plan; guided the College through the financial turmoil of 2008-2009; completed a comprehensive academic program review and unqualified Self-Study Report that led to reaccreditation; secured a number of grants to establish new programs; achieved success in the Challenge of Excellence capital campaign that exceeded its $60 million goal; and completed a $6 million Athletics Field Campaign.

Dr. White served as vice president and dean of faculty at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Ind., from 2002-2006. Previously, he was the associate dean of faculty from 1988 to 2002, and served the all-women's college as professor of English. He spearheaded a number of academic initiatives at Saint Mary's, including establishing the Center for Academic Innovation and the creation of grants that supported collaborative research between faculty and students and among the faculty members themselves. Dr. White was also one of the designers of Saint Mary's Center for Women's InterCultural Leadership, a Lilly Endowment-funded initiative.

"Every college and university hopes for a President who brings solid professional experience, devotion to the mission and life of the institution, who is wise, hard-working, compassionate, forward-looking and has a sense of humor and perspective just for good measure," said Millikin Provost Dr. Jeffery P. Aper. "Millikin is extremely fortunate to have that kind of President in Pat White. I commend our Board of Trustees on hiring and now retaining President White here at Millikin. The larger environment within which the University operates is very challenging in many ways, but I'm confident that we will continue to work together effectively to assure that Millikin grows in strength and reputation as one of the jewels in the crown of American higher education."

Earlier in his career, Dr. White was the chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Pfieffer College in Misenheimer, N.C., from 1985-1988, and taught at Westmar College in Le Mars, Iowa, from 1976-1985. A National Merit Scholar, Dr. White earned an A.B. in English from the University of Chicago in 1971, an M.A. in English from the University of Iowa in 1975 and a doctorate of English and American Literature from the University of Iowa in 1980.

"I am very excited to know that Millikin will continue under the guidance of Dr. White for another four years," said Millikin Student Senate President Jared Rixstine, a senior piano performance and political science double major from Washington, Ill. "Millikin has been in need of administrative stability and enhanced communication and Dr. White has brought just that - the entire culture and atmosphere surrounding Millikin has become more positive and collegial since his arrival in 2013. Because of his hard work, the institution is better off, the students are better off, and the Decatur community is enhanced. I am excited to see what Dr. White is able to do for all of us here at Millikin in the coming years."

Millikin University is a private, comprehensive university with a diverse student population of approximately 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students. A Millikin education features Performance Learning, a unique learning approach offered only at Millikin that gives students the chance to build the confidence and skills to succeed before and after graduation. Millikin offers more than 50 majors in the College of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Professional Studies and Tabor School of Business, and is located on a 75-acre residential campus in Decatur, Ill. Last year, 96 percent of Millikin graduates gained employment or admission into professional/graduate school within six months of graduation. More information is available at millikin.edu.