May 7, 2015 at 2:45pm

After 5 Live provides entrepreneurship experiences for Millikin students

Blue Connection
Millikin University students in the Arts and Entrepreneurship program are able to understand what entrepreneurship means through hands-on experiences combined with classroom instruction. The students also play an integral role in two thriving Millikin student-run ventures, Blue Connection and Bronze Man Books.
Blue Connection, a student-run venture in downtown Decatur, hosted its April After 5 Live event on April 10. The event highlighted "Super Sassy Spectacles," the 21st book published by Bronze Man Books, a student-run enterprise led by Dr. Randy Brooks, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Ed Walker, associate professor of art.
Traditionally, After 5 Live events highlight the work of either current students or alumni. This event did both, showcasing the writing of Millikin alumna Katie Florczyk '04, and illustrations by Emily Cardot, a senior art major from La Moille, Ill. The event also showcased the work of many students ranging from graphic design to marketing.
Florczyk was on hand to sign books with her daughter Anna, the star of the book. She shared how fortunate she was to work with Bronze Man Books and Blue Connection. "The students were knowledgeable and professional, and helped me learn about the world of publishing," said Florczyk. Anna not only was the inspiration for the book, but helped with the production. "She was really excited to be a part of the process," said Florczyk.
The illustrators were also on hand to sign and sell original sketches. Large format images are used in the development stage, but are usually stored or discarded after publication. Selling the artwork not only raises the profit margin for an event such as After 5 Live, but allows students that may be more interested in visual art to distribute their work.
Seeing the process from selecting a manuscript all the way to a release like the After 5 Live event provides entrepreneurship students with valuable hands-on experiences. "We appreciate it more; we see how it works. It's not just information in a textbook," said Emily Cardot.
While the process of a student-run venture is not unique to colleges and universities, Cardot noted that Bronze Man Books, Blue Connection and the leadership at Millikin make it stand out. "The professors ask 'What do you want to do?' and we decide. We think we can take it to the next level, and they stand behind us."
Blue Connection strives to highlight fine art students that are a rising success in their fields and provide a public venue for Millikin students to sell and showcase their artwork. Focused on arts and specialty businesses, Blue Connection is used by students in Millikin's Arts and Entrepreneurship program to grow their businesses.
Bronze Man Books is a student-owned and operated press that was established in spring 2006. It is located on Millikin University's campus in Decatur, Ill.
For more information on Blue Connection, visit, and for more details on Bronze Man Books, visit