The Freshman Experience: Millikin Style

From Millikin University's first freshman class of 136 in 1903 to its largest class of 660 in 2002, the experiences of the campus' newest students have been memorable. What are some of the similarities and differences in those initial experiences of Millikin freshmen?

The Freshman Beanie

Introduced by a proclamation of the Student Council in 1922, the green beanie with the block M became a staple of the freshman wardrobe! Purchased at the campus bookstore, freshmen were required to wear the beanie until the end of basketball season. The beanie was abolished for a short period during World War II and reinstated again in the 1950s. The beanie's history at Millikin University ended in 1967. Presumably the Vietnam War movement and other concerns of the time took on greater interest than the green beanie!

Freshman Camp

1929 Special orientation activities for incoming freshmen began in 1929 with strictly on-campus activities.

1948 The first "Freshman Camp" took place at Camp Seymour, a camp operated by the Illinois State YMCA. One of the big events at the camp was the square dancing!

1958 The camp moved to the Allerton Park 4-H Camp. The square dancing tradition continued, along with relay races, a tug-or-war, movies, and discussion groups.

1992 The First Millicamp is held.

1997 First Week, the current freshman orientation/camp activity begins with the implementation of the MPSL.

Freshman Pride

In 1917 the Freshman-Sophomore Scrap became an annual activity for possession of the Freshman Flag. Placed atop a flagpole, amidst a great pool of mud, the sophomores tried to prevent the freshmen from climbing the pole to retrieve the flag. In 1920 the competition got the best of the game, as an actual fist fight broke out!

Square Dancing at freshman camp

Square dancing was a long-standing activity of the Freshman Camp. Neil Ewing, athletic director of Eisenhower High School, lent his calling expertise for a number of years. The above photograph shows the 1966 camp square dance.

Group Discussions Parents wave goodbye
Even in the 1950s, freshmen were engaged in group discussions, led either by an older student, or as it is today, by professors. One of the biggest challenges for parents when their children come to college is the initial goodbye. Here you see parents waving as the bus pulls away for Allerton Park


Freshman Beanie Left: These students do not look particularly thrilled about having to wear their beanies. The beanie was abolished for a short period during World War II and reinstated again in the late 1940s/early 1950s, when this photo was taken. The beanie's history at Millikin University ended in 1967.

Right: New traditions added to the camp by 1957 included the campfire storytelling by historian Dr. Daniel Gage and the burning of the M. 

Burning of the M


Buses in 1993
Above: Getting over 300 students on the correct bus to Allerton Park can be quite a challenge! 1993 camp counselors can be observed holding signs to direct freshmen to the proper bus.


Sleeping Bag Pile Left: Finding your sleeping bag and overnight bag can be a challenge when they are all dumped in a big pile! Students and counselors search for their personal items in this 1984 picture.


This page created Feb. 21, 2005
Last modified: March 21, 2005
Copyright 2005: Millikin University Board of Trustees