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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Alumnus of the Year 
 

Michael Waller ’63 is recipient of the 2013 Alumnus of the Year award, the highest alumni award presented by the university.

Waller has demonstrated a strong commitment and dedication to Millikin for many years, both through service and generous financial support.

Now an emeritus trustee, Waller served on Millikin’s board of directors from 2000-2010, and continues to serve as co-chair of the “Transform MU” capital campaign steering committee. He was the national Millikin Fund chair in both 2011 and 2012; in 2013, he shared chairmanship duties with trustee, Dr. Steve Huss.

In addition to supporting his alma mater with his time and talents, Waller has financially supported the current capital campaign, “Transform MU,” as well as the previous “Advancing the Vision” capital campaign. He also was a generous supporter of renovations to Albert Taylor Theatre.

Waller’s distinguished career in journalism began at the Decatur Herald newspaper, where he worked as a sports clerk while attending Millikin. He then progressed to reporter, copy editor and finally, wire editor. After leaving the Herald in 1965, he worked for the Cleveland Plain Dealer in copy editing for two years. From 1967 to 1978, he worked for both the Louisville Courier Journal and Louisville Times, where he assisted with two Pulitzer Prize-winning stories, one about riots following school desegregation and one about a fatal fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Covington, Ky.

In 1978, he joined the Kansas City Star as managing editor, where he edited coverage of the 1981 collapse of a skywalk at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which killed 115 people. After hiring an engineer and studying records and architectural drawings, the newspaper revealed that the collapse was caused by a design flaw. The Star’s coverage of the tragedy earned a Pulitzer Prize. Waller was then named managing editor of the Star’s sister paper, the Kansas City Times, and in 1983, he was promoted to editor of both papers. He is the only journalist in the history of the papers to serve in the top three news positions.

In 1986, Waller was named executive editor of the Hartford Courant, the oldest continuously published newspaper in the country. He became the Courant’s editor in 1990 and was appointed publisher and CEO in 1994. While Waller was the paper’s editor, the Courant won its first Pulitzer Prize.

Waller was named publisher and CEO of The Baltimore Sun and senior vice president of Times Mirror Co. in 1997. During his tenure, The Sun received two Pulitzers. Waller retired from The Baltimore Sun in 2002.

In recognition of his achievements in journalism, Waller received Millikin’s Alumni Merit Award in 1987. In 2002, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Delta Sigma Phi national fraternity.

Waller has authored two books: “Durand’s Marvelous Merchants: A Tale of Small-Town Life and Big-Time Softball,” and “Blood on the Out-Basket: Lessons in Leadership from a Newspaper Junkie.”

In addition to serving on several nonprofit boards while in Hartford and Baltimore, Waller was also chairman of the United Way campaigns in each city, raising a total of nearly $70 million.

Waller and his wife, Donna, live in Hilton Head Island, S.C. He has four children: Eric Waller ’87, Danielle “Dani” Waller ’90, Heather Kean and Katharine Waller.

Alumnus of the Year Recipients:

1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013

Orval Diehl '22
Andrew Dallstream '15
R. Zink Sanders '07
Arthur Wells '35
Neva Welsh Gauger '14
H. Ray Myers '26
Victor Dewein '26
William '33 and Ruth Blair Hipsher '30
J. Neil Arrington '26
J. Edwin Griswold '24
W. Lawrence Rotz '20
Harold R. Sampson '22
R. Wayne "Hank" Gill '21
Charlotte Meyer '31
William F. Hayes, Sr. '20
James Dunning '31
Eva Coberly Kirkland '15
Ida Diller Record '07
John C. Griswold '23
William Requarth '35
John '31 and Ula Davis Leighty '33
Eva Davis Casey '10 and Ina Wornick Mills '09
Clarence R. Flint '30
H. A. "Bunk" Douglas '26
Robert W. Bartlett '31
Herbert D. Ryman '31
J. William Record '38
Nola Treat '07
Anonymous
Mabel Hays Cooper '18 and Helen Hays Hepperlen '28
Florence E. Birks '26 and Jenna R. Birks '22
Purvis and Roberta Morris Tabor '36
George Musso '33
Howard L Gravett '33
Amherst F. Hardy '32
Clarence "Red" Johnson '50
Rosalia McCambridge Weck '25
Fanny Powers Bassett '27
James H. Henson '58
Howard Nyberg '49
Wayne Krows '51
Emily Johnson Metzler '29
Virginia Holben Rogers '32
Joan Honicker Parker '47
Robert C. Hanna '50
William Eichenauer '51
G. William Harner '47
Larry D. Haab '59
James E. Fitzgerald '53 and Donna Riechman Fitzgerald '54
Patricia Smith Perkinson '45 and C.D. "Perk" Perkinson, D.H.L.
Paul Hung, '56
George Irish '68
Robert W.Smith '62 and Lucy Lindsay Smith '67
Bruce Nims '72
Douglas Oberhelman '75
John Adney '72
Jeff Black '75
Robert Moorehead '46 and Charlotte Beesley Moorehead '47
Lyn Gallion Houston '59
David Roth '63
Duane Avis and Joan Adams Avis, both ’53
Barbara Burgis Zuegel '53 and Herb Zuegel '52
Michael Waller '63

 
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL