Dear Millikin alumni and friends:
As I write this letter, I’ve been reflecting on the past 12 months and how Millikin and other institutions of higher learning were compelled to change almost everything we do in order to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Last March, our educational mission was tested and I believe we passed that test in ways that none of us could have imagined.
In the space of 10 days, an entire curriculum and all of the Performance Learning activities on campus had to be converted to an online delivery system. Many of us hoped that this would be a temporary fix — we all wanted to believe that things would go back to normal in a very short period of time. But, as you know, the world changed dramatically and our approach to educating our students had to change during this time as well. If it’s possible to learn positive lessons during a worldwide health crisis, we have learned that we are more creative and resilient than we ever imagined. We have become adept at new learning strategies and delivery systems. We have crafted ways to connect with each other that are now part of our everyday routines. We have learned the importance of patience and grace in our lives and how much more thankful we can be. While none of us would have wished for change to come in this form, Millikin has weathered the pandemic well and we will emerge with a confidence about our future.
I’ve spent much of the last eight months imagining our next steps as a University and recognize two important processes as pivotal. In March, we began a new strategic planning process to create a 3–5-year plan going forward. I want this process to engage alumni and friends of Millikin and will work with a newly created Strategic Planning Steering Committee to formulate many different ways to get input from all of our stakeholders, both on and off campus. Secondly, I will be expanding my outreach to engage more alumni and friends of Millikin in meaningful conversations about the future of our University. During the pandemic, my ability to have conversations has been limited mostly to meetings via video conferencing. While I have enjoyed the opportunity to visit with several hundred of you in this fashion, I miss having more personal contact. My goal is to be able to travel more as restrictions begin to ease and to begin a process of visiting the primary areas where large groups of our alumni are located. I value the chance to be able to sit and talk with people who have a heart for the work we do here. Our professionals in the Office of Alumni and Development will be my partners as we set up regional meetings, hopefully in the near future.
Millikin’s success over the past year is directly correlated to the work and perseverance of our faculty, staff and students in the face of long odds against our ability to pull it off. This is no small accomplishment and the commitment of our campus to our mission during this difficult time gives me abundant hope for the future. For those of you who have helped support us during the past year, you have my undying thanks and appreciation!
Jim Reynolds, President
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