Millikin's Early Years

An exhibit from the I. Laurence "Bill" and Anna Magill Sears Collection

I. Laurence "Bill" Sears graduated from Lincoln College in 1903. At the request of Millikin University President Albert Reynolds Taylor, Mr. Sears became the first editor and business manager of the Decatur College & Industrial School of the James Millikin University's student newspaper. The Decaturian was first published in October 1903, one month after the opening of the Decatur campus.

Anna Dora Magill enrolled at Millikin University in 1903; and was a member of the university's first four year class, graduating in 1907.

Bill Sears and Anna Magill married in June 1908, and settled near Sullivan, IL. Anna Sears died July 18, 1948. Bill Sears died April 25, 1959.

The majority of the photographs in this collection were taken by Bill Sears from 1903-1907, effectively chronicling the early years of the Decatur College and Industrial School. It includes many of the social activities that Bill and Anna attended together.

Class of 1907.


This was the first group of students at Millikin University to graduate after spending four years here.

An exhibit of work in the Dress Making Class, 1910.


The Math Department now occupies the former Sewing Room.

A view of the neighborhood south from campus.


The first street is Wood Street, looking sourth. The railroad tracks cut diagonally across the photograph.

A drafting class at Millikin University, 1903.


An early Millikin party.


This photo was taken in Shilling Hall, below the Albert Taylor Theater.


The big March snow of 1905.


This scene is the "back campus" and shows the River Sticks, as the students named it. The stream flowed behind the campus and into Fairview Park.

A painting class at Millikin University, 1903.


Student theatre production of She Stoops to Conquer performed on June 14, 1904.


This was the university's first theatre production. The costumes were rented from "a Chicago firm.”

This page created Feb. 19, 2002
Copyright 2001: Millikin University Board of Trustees