December 17, 2019

To the Millikin University community:

On December 9-10, 2019, the Presidential Search Committee interviewed eight excellent candidates in Chicago at the Hilton at O’Hare Airport. Those eight represented a significant degree of diversity: three were females and two were persons of color. At the conclusion of the interviews, the search committee selected four candidates to invite to campus to meet the whole Millikin community. Of those four, three are male and one is female. All four candidates have enthusiastically accepted our invitation.

The campus interviews will be held the week of January 27-31, 2020; each candidate will be on campus for two days. Please save these dates. The candidates’ names and credentials will be made available to you in mid-January, along with a schedule for each candidate. There will be open forums to give you the opportunity to meet the candidates and address questions to them. At the conclusion of the interviews, you will have the opportunity to complete an online evaluation that will be sent directly to the search committee.

We are very pleased with the progress of the search so far. Our recruiting materials gained a great deal of attention and much praise for their visual appeal, usefulness, and transparency. We recruited a very talented, diverse, and deep pool of candidates. We are excited about our four finalists, and they are excited about the opportunity to meet the Millikin community and to become our next president. Please plan on meeting all four of our finalists and extending to each a warm Millikin.

Yours in Millikin,

Randell S. Blackburn ’74, Chair
Board of Trustees



November 20, 2019

To the Millikin University community:

We have passed another important milestone in the presidential search. The recruiting period ended on November 4. We had a strong, diverse, and very experienced applicant pool, nearly a quarter of whom had previous presidential experience. At our meeting on November 14, we selected eight candidates to be interviewed in Chicago on December 9-10. All eight have accepted our invitation to interview and are eager to meet the search committee.

At the conclusion of the Chicago interviews, we will select three to four candidates to invite to campus for more extended interviews and the opportunity to meet the whole Millikin community. Those interviews are scheduled for January 27-31. Information about them will be forthcoming as soon as we have selected the final candidates.

Thanks to all who have sent us nominations and suggestions. They were read carefully and are truly appreciated. My deepest thanks to the search committee for the many hours they spent reading applications and the many hours they will devote to the interview process and the final selection. This is a critically important decision for Millikin, and we have an able and committed search committee to help us reach a successful conclusion.

Yours in Millikin,

Randell S. Blackburn ’74, Chair
Board of Trustees



September 19, 2019

To the Millikin University community:

I am pleased to announce that the recruiting phase of the presidential search has begun.  The recruiting materials have been developed and are available at the presidential-search web page.  Ads have been placed and the active solicitation of candidates has begun.

If you know of anyone who you think would be a strong candidate for this position, please review the position profile to make sure they are what we are looking for.  If there is a good match between their experience and skills and Millikin’s needs, send the name of the person to us so that we can follow up.  You may send it directly to our search consultant, Rob Holyer ( or you may send it to us through the Community Input form at the presidential-search web page.

A search of this nature requires complete confidentiality of members of the search committee.  Our success in recruiting strong candidates is dependent on our ability to ensure their confidentiality in the search process up to the point of campus interviews.  Consequently, members of the search committee are not authorized to speak about the search.  We will try to keep you fully informed through my periodic updates.  If you have questions, please direct them to me. 

I want to thank all of you—trustees, alumni, friends of the University, citizens of Decatur, faculty, staff, administrators, and students—who came out to our listening sessions.  Your opinions were very valuable, and we learned a great deal about Millikin’s need and opportunities from you.  What is more, your contributions informed the development of our recruiting materials and will help our consultant recruit more effectively on our behalf.

Yours in Millikin,

Randell S. Blackburn ’74, Chair
Board of Trustees



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

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. (

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