A Celebration of Commencement

Millikin University's first commencement, held on June 5, 1904, awarded degrees to three students. Edward L King was the first student to receive a Bachelor of Science degree from Millikin University. The other two students received advanced degrees in Pedagogy. This class of three in 1904, grew to 40 in 1914. The first class of over 100 graduated in 1940, with 104 students. Graduates decreased during the years of World War II, but grew by leaps and bounds following the war. The class of 1950 had 452 graduates!

The first commencement ceremonies were held in Albert Taylor Theatre in Shilling Hall. As the class size grew the ceremony was moved to Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 1949 the ceremony was held on the Athletic Field to accommodate the large class numbers. In 1963 ceremonies were moved to the Pavilion at Fairview Park, and in 1996 they were first held at the Civic Center.

Over the years there have been a number of other activities associated with commencement. Classes of the first few decades would spend a morning prior to the ceremonies motoring through Decatur in their automobiles. During the First World War students began a Lantern Parade and Sing that continued until 1969. Although the associated events and traditions have varied over the years, commencement has been a very special event for all associated with Millikin University.

1905 Millikin University commencement announcement

Commencement announcement from June 1905.
There were nine graduates in this class.

1904 commencement program1904 commencement program

1904 commencement program cover; inside of 1904 commencement program. There were three graduates at this ceremony.

Millikin class of 1910

The class of 1910 gathers at the bench and marker they donated as a class gift to Millikin University.






Millikin class of 1932

The class of 1932 files into Shilling Hall for the commencement ceremony, held in Albert Taylor Theatre.





Millikin class of 1957


Members of the Class of 1957 make their final dash from the MU towers of Shilling Hall. Beginning in 1949 the ceremonies were held on the Athletic Field to accommodate the large in flux of students following World War II.





1953 commencement activities

Above: Traditional and special events were planned to commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary Commencement in 1953. Millikin's fiftieth graduating class had 209 graduates.

1986 Millikin commencement

The 1986 Commencement Exercises were held in the Fairveiw Park Pavillion. The ceremonies were first held in Fairview Park in 1963. In 1996 they were moved to the Decatur Civic Center.

Commencement 1987

The graduating seniors of 1987 enter Fairview Park surrounded on either side by the faculty who applaud their achievements.

This page created March 21, 2005
Copyright: Millikin University Board of Trustees