December 12, 2019 at 1:45pm
Dane Lisser

A recipe for holiday sweetness

What better way to prepare for final exams and the end of a semester than a holiday festivity with cookies.

A long-standing tradition at Millikin University, the 86th annual Cookie Party was held in the University Commons on Dec. 11 as students, faculty and staff were able to choose from over 5,000 cookies.

Millikin Cookie Party

The event is held every year as a highlight and celebration of the holiday season at Millikin, and to give the students a "boost" before final exams are administered.

Millikin faculty, administration and staff team up to bake the cookies for the annual event. From festively decorated sugar cookies, to peanut butter bars, to dark chocolate truffles coated in sprinkles, there is something to tempt even the most discriminating of tastes.

In an interview with the Herald & Review, Molly Berry, director of inclusion and student engagement at Millikin said, "The volunteer schedule, the musical schedule, all of these things make the event run smooth. It's just an end-of-the-semester celebration. My favorite part of the festivities is the moment the doors open and the students start flooding in."

The Cookie Party has grown to become such a popular event on campus that some students get in line more than an hour early to enter the room.

Millikin Cookie Party

Millikin President Dr. Patrick E. White and his wife, Chris, greeted students with handshakes and a "Merry Christmas" as Millikin staff members and volunteers kept busy throughout the event by refilling cookies trays outside the banquet room.

The event also featured holiday music provided by students from Millikin's School of Music.

Millikin Cookie Party

"The routine is quite simple. You come in and eat cookies," said Naomi Klingbeil, a senior biology major from Pekin, Ill.

Baylee Baxter, a sophomore elementary education major from Eureka, Ill., said, "The president and the provost and a ton of people that work here greeted us at the front. You see all of the important people of Millikin."

Millikin Cookie Party

The holiday event to honor the students dates back to 1934, when the Millikin Dames, a group of women in Millikin's staff and wives of faculty and trustees, hosted Millikin's first Christmas Tea. Held in what was then the Gorin Library, the event was a much more formal experience, with silver tea services and the Dames acting as servers.

Over time, the event evolved, adding performances by student musical ensembles, changing its name to the Cookie Party and moving into Richards Treat University Center, where it was held for nearly 60 years, until the opening of the University Commons. In 2018, a new tradition took root in the form of Pop-Up Alumni Cookie Parties, which allow alumni to gather at various locations throughout the U.S. to share in the Millikin family's love of sweet treats.

Millikin Cookie Party

"It is a time right when things are very busy and people are worried about finals and end-of-the-year papers," said President White. "It's just a time to take a small time out, relax with some friends and eat some sugar."