Patrick E. White

President, Millikin University

A.B., English (with honors), University of Chicago, 1971
M.A., English, University of Iowa, 1975
Ph.D., English and American Literature, University of Iowa, 1980

Dr. White was elected the 15th president of Millikin University in October 2013. He joined Millikin as the interim president in July 2013. Through his leadership, Millikin University has been revitalized and reimagined, and he has built a solid foundation for growth and success.

Dr. White completed Millikin’s “Transform MU” capital campaign, which exceeded its $85 million goal by over $10 million 14 months early, and led to designs for new, transformative buildings on campus. The Workman Family Softball Field, one of the best fields in the nation, opened in March 2017. The $31 million University Commons, Millikin’s new front door to campus, opened in August 2017 and houses the Staley Library, the Doug and Diane Oberhelman Center for Leadership Performance, the University dining hall, and additional innovative spaces for collaboration between faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the community. Additionally, a Center for Theatre and Dance will break ground in 2018 with plans to open in fall 2020. The facility will include a flexible theatre in addition to dance and acting studios, classrooms, costume shop, and sound and lighting design labs.

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 offering students the chance to build the confidence to succeed before and after graduation. Students choose from more than 50 majors from the College of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Professional Studies, and Tabor School of Business. Millikin is located on a 75-acre residential campus in Decatur, Illinois. Last year, 99% of Millikin graduates gained employment or admission into professional or graduate school within six months of graduation.

Prior to arriving at 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 and guided the College through the financial turmoil of 2008-2009. He completed a comprehensive academic program review and unqualified Self-Study Report that led to reaccreditation. President White 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.

Previously, Dr. White served as Vice President and Dean of Faculty at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., from 2002-2006. Before that, he served as the Associate Dean of Faculty from 1988 to 2002 and the founding director of the Center for Academic Innovation while teaching courses in film, literature, and linguistics at this women’s college as Professor of English. He led a number of academic initiatives at Saint Mary’s and raised over $23 million in external support through grants supporting programs in women’s intellectual leadership, collaborative research between faculty and students and among the faculty members themselves, and curriculum innovation. Dr. White was also one of the designers of Saint Mary’s Center for Women’s InterCultural Leadership, a Lilly Endowment-funded initiative.

Earlier in his career, Dr. White was the chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Pfeiffer 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 Ph.D. in English and American Literature from the University of Iowa in 1980.

Dr. White has written extensively on literature, popular culture, leadership, and the visual arts, and has written two prize winning one-act plays. He served for over 20 years as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism and seven years as a regional editor for the New Art Examiner.

Dr. White and his wife, Chris, a certified family nurse practitioner and long-time teacher at the Indiana University- South Bend School of Nursing, have twin daughters, Katie and Molly, and a son, Paddy, daughter-in-law Eileen, and grandchildren, Norah and Oliver.