August 1, 2019

To the Millikin University community:

I am pleased to announce that the search for the 16th president of Millikin University begins officially today.

I know I do not need to remind you of the critical importance of this undertaking. Under the leadership of President White and with the creative collaboration of all of Millikin, we have made significant progress on many fronts. We have continued to build on our strong tradition of academic excellence and our commitment to Performance Learning; we completed the Transform Millikin University capital campaign and have continued to mark strong fundraising with record annual fund contributions and growth in endowed scholarships; we have grown the number and success of our athletic programs; we have worked to stabilize enrollments and have achieved growth in net tuition revenue and student diversity; we have changed the face of the campus through facilities that serve our students and community in new and exciting ways; we have risen in the national higher education rankings and earned notice in a number of rankings of specific programs; and so much more. Consequently, the next president will have much to build on and significant forward momentum. 

At the same time, as a tuition-dependent institution in a competitive environment, we face continuing and significant challenges. With the right leadership, however, Millikin’s momentum can be increased and its potential more fully realized. We hope that this search process will help bring the Millikin community together in support of our next president.

To date, the Board has appointed a Presidential Search Committee to lead us in this undertaking. I will serve as chair of this committee. We have also enlisted the services of AGB Search to advise us, to assist with the recruiting process, and to help us evaluate and vet candidates. The consultant who will assist us is Dr. Robert Holyer who brings to our search a long career in higher education as well as over eight years of experience in higher education search consultancy.

The first phase of the search process is to get a clearer and collective sense from the Millikin community about the kind of leader we seek as our next president. Consequently, the search will begin by listening to the community. This will be done in several ways. For alumni and trustees close to Decatur, we will hold listening sessions on August 13. We will also hold listening sessions on campus September 5-6. In addition, we have a Community Input Form that allows you to communicate directly and confidentially with the search committee. In all of these venues, you will have the opportunity to share with the search committee your sense of the priorities for the new president and the qualifications, experiences, and attributes the new president will need to succeed. To focus our discussions, we have some basic questions we would like you to consider.

Based on what we hear as well as on our own sense of Millikin’s needs, we will next develop the recruiting materials that we will use in the search. They will be posted on the presidential-search website as soon as they are available. We encourage you to read them carefully and nominate people you think will provide the leadership Millikin needs. Please send your nominations directly to our search consultant at robert.holyer@agbsearch.com.

A search of this nature must be conducted under strict rules of confidentiality. Some good candidates may not apply if they worry that their involvement in the search will leak out and make its way back to their home campuses. Consequently, all members of the search committee are bound by clear expectations of confidentiality and cannot speak about the details of the search or the candidate pool or individual applicants.

While respecting the requirement of confidentiality, the search committee will communicate with you as much as we can and make our search process as transparent as we can. The timeline for the search is available on this web page. As chair of the Presidential Search Committee, I will issue periodic search updates which will also be posted on this web page. The chair of the search committee is the only one authorized to speak publicly about the search. So please direct your questions and concerns to me. (rsblackb@gmail.com)

The Board of Trustees is committed to working with the search committee and the whole Millikin community to find the new leadership we need and to strengthen the University as we move forward together. 

Sincerely yours in Millikin,

Randell Blackburn '74, Chair
Millikin University Board of Trustees