In recent months, seven new coaches joined the Big Blue, beginning a new era in the athletic department. Four of the seven new coaches are MU alumni
Dirk Doehring ’02 , new director of track and field and cross country, started his collegiate coaching career as an MU assistant track and field coach and assistant football coach from 2004-06. During his days as a student athlete for the Big Blue, Doehring was a four-year varsity letterwinner in track and a two-year varsity athlete in football. As a member of MU’s 4x100 relay team, he was a two-time qualifier for the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships; that team still holds the Millikin outdoor school record for the event.
Doehring returns to Millikin after spending last season as a volunteer assistant track and field coach at NCAA Division I Delaware State. He also has served as director of track and field and cross country at Culver-Stockton and was a graduate assistant track and field coach at Defiance College.
Doehring is a 1998 graduate of St. Joseph-Ogden High School and started his teaching and coaching career at Argenta-Oreana High School in 2002.
New head football coach Patrick Etherton ’00 was formerly an assistant football coach and head men’s golf coach at Millikin.
Etherton has been on the football staff since 2004 and has coached on both sides of the football. In addition to Millikin, his 10 years of collegiate football coaching experience has included Washington & Jefferson College, the University of Puget Sound and Allegheny College.
Since 2008, Etherton was the Big Blue’s passing game coordinator, wide receivers coach, recruiting coordinator and head JV coach. From 2004-08, Etherton was Millikin’s co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in addition to running the JV program and heading up the recruiting efforts.
Etherton was also the Big Blue’s head men’s golf coach since 2004. He was named the 2011 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) Men’s Golf Coach of the Year after leading the Big Blue to its 19th CCIW title in school history and first since 2000.
Etherton played defensive back for the Big Blue and was a student assistant coach from 1998-2000. He and his wife, 2002 Millikin graduate Airn English Etherton, live in Decatur.
Emily Johnson has been named the new head women’s soccer coach after spending two years as an assistant women’s soccer coach at St. Lawrence University in New York. Johnson has 15 years of collegiate soccer coaching experience. In addition to St. Lawrence, she has served as an assistant coach at Guilford College, Greensboro College, Bentley College and the State University of New York, Cortland. Johnson was the head women’s soccer and head women’s lacrosse coach at Ferrum College from 2000-02. Johnson also has significant developmental and club coaching experience.
As a collegiate player at Ithaca Collage, she was an All-American player and a member of Ithaca’s National Championship team in 1991.
Former Big Blue player Chad Jones ’93 returns to Millikin as head men’s soccer coach with extensive coaching experience at the collegiate, club, high school and developmental level. Most recently, he was head men’s soccer coach at NCAA Division II University of Illinois-Springfield.
Jones has served two stints as assistant coach in the Big Blue men’s soccer program including in 2000 and 2009. He also has been an assistant coach at Illinois Wesleyan University and Eastern Illinois University.
In addition to his collegiate experience, he serves as an Olympic Development Staff Coach for the State of Illinois.
Jones was executive director of the Springfield Soccer Association from 2007-08 and director of soccer for the Midstate Soccer Club and Academy in Decatur from 2001-07.
He was the varsity soccer coach for men’s and women’s soccer at Decatur MacArthur High School from 1995 to 2000. His boys team went to the IHSA Class A Final Four in 1999 and he was named the Decatur Herald and Review Soccer Coach of the Year in 1998 and 1999.
Jennifer Lindsey has been named the new head women’s tennis coach. Lindsey’s tennis career started in high school, where she played for four years. In 2005, she qualified for the Missouri High School State Tournament. In 2004, she earned the 110-percent award at Hazelwood Central High School, presented to an outstanding athlete. In college, Lindsey was instrumental in starting a club tennis program at Avila University. She has attended numerous tennis camps, clinics and private lessons. In addition to coaching tennis for the Big Blue, Lindsey is an admission counselor for Millikin. She earned degrees in psychology and sociology at Avila University in Kansas City, Mo.
New head men’s basketball coach Matthew Nadelhoffer comes to Millikin from Eastern University in St. Davids, Penn., where he served as head coach since 2002.
Under his direction, the Eagles had the school’s highest Freedom Conference finish in school history, finishing second in 2009-10. He led the team to a school record 17 wins in the 2008-09 season.
Nadelhoffer also was an assistant at the College of Dupage when they won the NJCCA National Championship in 2002.
Nadelhoffer is a 1998 graduate of Wheaton College, where he earned All-America and All-CCIW honors as a player. He set an NCAA record for assists in a tournament game with 20 and holds the Wheaton record for assists in a season at 221. After college, he played in the CBA and had a tryout stint with the Miami Heat in the NBA. In addition to his playing experience in the US, Nadelhoffer has played in Croatia, Portugal, England, Spain, Ireland and Switzerland.
Former Big Blue golfer Sam Osborne ’10 has been named new head men’s golf coach.
Osborne spent last season as an assistant men’s golf coach, helping guide the Millikin team to a CCIW Championship and a 14th place finish in the NCAA Division III Championships.
As a student, Osborne served as golf team captain for two years. As a senior, he had an 18-hole stroke average of 77 and won the McNaughton Memorial at Illinois College, carding a 69 for the round.
Osborne has been a pro shop assistant for the Decatur Park District courses since 2005 and also played in a number of amateur and junior golf tournaments.
He was honored with the Major Thomas G. Storey Citizenship Award at Millikin in 2010 as the senior who demonstrated outstanding campus and community citizenship. He also received the Top Teke Frater Award presented annually to only a few graduating Tau Kappa Epsilon members across the U.S. and Canada.
Osborne also was a high school teacher for the Lutheran School Association of Decatur last year.
Discovering a classic among our own
by Jerry Johnson ’82, Associate Director of Communications
Several years ago while searching the Internet on a
theatre-related topic, I stumbled across an essay entitled, “What Theatre Majors Learn: The advantages theatre majors have for all jobs.” I was fascinated by its insights on the many behaviors and skills people develop or enhance through their involvement in theatre. I knew how much participation in theatre had enriched my life and given me a greater understanding of teamwork, self-discipline, patience, perseverance and resilience. I filed away a copy of the essay on my computer for future reference, without really making note of the author’s name.
Fast forward a few years and I am working in the Millikin Alumni and Development Office as part of the communications team. Deb Kirchner, director of communications and services, as well as editor of Millikin Quarterly magazine, is preparing some alumni profiles about theatre majors who have made careers outside that field as an example of how a Millikin education prepares graduates for professional success, even in careers outside their MU majors. I immediately thought of the essay and shared it with her.
She asked me to find out if we could use the essay in the magazine and maybe even get an interview with the author. I discovered it was written by Dr. Louis E. Catron, a professor of theatre, speech, and dance at the College of William & Mary in Virginia for more than 35 years. Deb thought the name sounded familiar and we were quickly reminded that Dr. Catron was a 1958 Millikin communications/English graduate. Sadly, he had passed away in October 2010.
Originally published in Dramatics magazine in December 1991, Catron’s essay has since taken on a life of its own. It can be found on countless websites as well as in university theatre handbooks across the country, from California State University-Bakersfield to Pensacola State College. I enjoy knowing that part of Catron’s significant legacy – this little essay filled with his passion for and knowledge of theatre that gained worldwide attention – has now been published in abridged format on the pages of his alma mater’s magazine.
Read about theatre alums who are performing their learning in off-stage careers in this issue.
What theatre majors learn
by Louis Catron ’58
Business leaders are particularly interested in qualities like discipline, dependability, loyalty and leadership, qualities that theatre students must have to be effective members of a production team.
Theatre-trained applicants become valuable employees because they’re energetic, enthusiastic and able to work under pressure.
Here are 23 skills, traits and qualities that are usually well-developed in individuals who study theatre.
1. Oral communication skills. Theatre helps students develop the confidence that’s essential to speaking clearly, lucidly and thoughtfully, particularly in front of large groups.
2. Creative problem-solving skills. Tech theatre work, such as building scenery and making props, is a good way to learn how to identify problems, evaluate possible solutions and figure out what to do
3. Motivation. Being involved in theatre productions and classes teaches students that success comes to those who are committed to the task at hand.
4. A willingness to work cooperatively. Theatre demands that participants work together cooperatively and understand how to be a team player for the production to succeed.
5. The ability to work independently. In theatre, you’re often assigned tasks that you must complete without supervision. It’s left up to you to figure out how best to achieve the goal.
6. Time-budgeting skills. When you’re a student, you must schedule your days very carefully to keep up your grades while you’re busy with rehearsals, work calls and other demands of theatre.
7. Initiative. The complexities of a theatrical production demands individuals who are willing to voluntarily undertake any task that needs to be done; self-starters.
8. Promptness and respect for deadlines. Being late for a rehearsal or a work call or failing to finish an assigned task on time damages a production and affects the work of many other people.
9. Acceptance of rules. In theatre you work within the structure of a set of procedures and rules that deal with everything from shop safety to behavior at auditions, rehearsals and work calls.
10. The ability to learn quickly. Whether memorizing lines or learning the technical aspects of a production, theatre students must absorb a vast quantity of material quickly and accurately.
11. Respect for colleagues. In theatre, you discover that a successful production requires contributions from everybody involved. Mutual respect and trust are essential.
12. Respect for authority. Only one person can be in charge of any given portion of a production and theatre teaches a willingness to accept and respect authority.
13. Adaptability. Theatre students may be a member of the prop crew in one production; in charge of makeup, publicity or the box office in the next; and have a leading role in a third production.
14. The ability to work under pressure. Theatre demands everyone involved maintain a cooperative and enthusiastic attitude under the stress of long hours.
15. A healthy self-image. To work in theatre, you must know who you are and how to project your individuality, but also recognize the need to make yourself secondary to the production.
16. Acceptance of disappointment. Theatre people often fail to get a role or a coveted spot on a tech crew, but learn to be resilient enough to bounce back from this kind of frustration.
17. Self-discipline. Theatre demands that you learn to make choices between keeping up with responsibilities and doing things you’d rather do.
18. A goal-oriented approach to work. Many aspects of theatre involve setting specific goals and finding practical ways to achieve those goals.
19. Concentration. Acting, in particular, stresses concentration and, once learned as an actor, that skill can be transferred to other activities.
20. Dedication. Many theatre students discover that committing their energy, their very being, to a given task is deeply rewarding.
21. A willingness to accept responsibility. Theatre students sometimes have an opportunity that is seldom given to students in other disciplines – the chance to take on sole responsibility for a special project.
22. Leadership skills. In theatre, you assist a director or designer and lead other volunteers, serve as a crew chief or even design or direct a production yourself.
23. Self-confidence. Accomplishments in theatre show you that you can handle a variety of jobs, pressures, difficulties and responsibilities.
Few people choose to set out on a difficult, demanding four-year course of theatre study because it will make them good candidates for employment in other fields. But it will.
On Oct. 29, at halftime of the Big Blue football game, May graduates J.B. Spillane of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and Dion Wilson of Country Club Hills, Ill., will be presented with the Lindsay Medallion to recognize their athletic excellence. The Medallion, named in honor of the late F. Merrill Lindsay, trustee emeritus, and his late wife, “Sis” Lindsay, has been presented annually since 1998 to honor student-athletes for outstanding performances on their respective Big Blue teams.
J.B. Spillane helped the Big Blue to a 14th-place finish at the NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championships in May. The seventh-place individual finisher at the 2011 CCIW Championships, Spillane had six Top-Five finishes including five Top-Three performances as a senior, and finished in the Top 10 in 10 tournaments during his senior season. He tacked his name to the No. 11 spot in Millikin’s all-time season scoring list by averaging 76 strokes per round during his final season before wrapping up his career at No. 2 on the Big Blue career leaderboard with a career 18-hole stroke average of 76.55. Spillane also recorded the second-lowest individual 36-hole score in Millikin history by shooting a 141 at the Big Blue Spring Classic in April. A four-time CCIW Academic All-Conference honoree and the 2010 Jack Swartz Award winner, Spillane was named a 2009-10 Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-American Scholar. Spillane majored in finance.
Dion Wilson permanently etched his name into the list of all-time great Big Blue running backs with a record-breaking senior season and outstanding career on the gridiron. During his final season, Wilson tore through opponents’ defensive lines and rumbled into the record books with 1,361 yards, securing the No. 2 spot in Millikin single-season rushing history. His 1,361 yards were also the fifth-best in the nation by a Division III running back in 2010. With 2,829 career yards to his name, Wilson is No. 4 in Millikin career rushing yards and his 284 yards against Illinois College in the 2010 season opener set a new Big Blue single-game record.
A standout student, Wilson earned Academic All-CCIW honors in each of his four seasons and was selected to the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Second Team in 2010. Wilson also earned recognition for his contributions off the field with an Allstate AFCA Good Works Team nomination in 2010. He majored in fitness and sport and is entering the Marine Corps.
Although the traditional methods of teaching general education courses nationwide are just now beginning to change, Millikin has been ahead of this movement since 1997 with the creation of the University Studies program.
More than 15 years ago, MU faculty and administrators took steps to address what other colleges across the nation are just starting to recognize: The traditional general education courses required by most college academic curriculums are outmoded for today’s students and today’s employers.
An article published earlier this year in Educause Review, “The Changing Landscape of Higher Education,” outlines the need for transformation of the gen-ed curriculum practiced at most colleges and universities:
“[Employers] are looking to hire college graduates with well-developed writing, oral communications, and interpersonal skills and with global cultural awareness and understanding, whatever the graduates’ majors might be. At the same time ... employers have identified a deficit of these skills among college graduates ... there is an emerging sense that general education should focus more on the key attributes that employers value as needed by a generally educated person: critical thinking, writing, speaking, arguing, researching, and mathematical reasoning. In addition to introducing a broad variety of subjects, gen-ed should exercise the skills and habits of the mind.”
“Everything described in the Educause Review article has been practiced at Millikin for years through the University Studies program,” says Dr. Carmella Braniger, the program’s director. She notes that the program is a prime example of the tenets of the university’s unique performance learning attribute, directly related to Millikin’s mission and has been recognized by the Higher Learning Commission (see related article at right for more on her perspectives).
Mandi Podeschi, a 2002 graduate and associate director of development, brings a unique perspective to the University Studies program, since she took classes in the program as a student and now teaches within it. In recent years, she has taught both university seminar courses and U.S. studies.
“I think the greatest aspect of the program is the consistent threads running through it,” she says. “We focus on emphasizing ethical reasoning, reflection and active citizenship throughout the entire sequence of the program, and students practice these skills and learn about different topics from this perspective for at least three years. From my perspective, it is an improvement over the usual gen-ed offerings at other schools because it gives students diverse options in terms of classes, but also emphasizes important skills across the curriculum.
“In my seminar class focusing on World War II, we used Studs Terkel’s book, “The Good War,” as a way to understand the human elements, conflicts, tragedies and opportunities that arose because of World War II,” Podeschi says. “ We took it a step further and created an archives exhibit focusing on women at Millikin during World War II; by focusing on college-age students during the war, the students were able to reflect on the experiences of fellow Millikin students, nearly 70 years ago, and think about the way the war affected our campus and society. I think they came away from the course having more respect for the Millikin students of the 1940s, many of whom were very much active citizens on campus and beyond.”
New University President Dr. Harold Jeffcoat was impressed with the program from his first day in office last April, calling it “extraordinary”: “It gives our graduates a huge competitive advantage as they seek employment, since employers are actively seeking – but rarely finding – talented workers who are not only knowledgable in their field of discipline but also problem solvers who can communicate effectively and are considerate of the ethical and moral issues of our global village ... It’s a bold venture, expertly led by committed and talented faculty.”
Braniger leads University Studies Program
Dr. Carmella Braniger, associate professor of English and named first director of the University Studies program last year, answers some questions about the program.
What prepared you for this new role?
I’ve taught in the University Studies Program since I came to Millikin in 2003, a Ph.D. graduate from Oklahoma State University’s English department, where I served as assistant director to the composition program. Having trained as an administrator during my graduate studies, I instinctively looked for opportunities to help strengthen the University Studies Program through its various stages of development, implementation, assessment and reform.
I served on the University Studies Advisory Committee from 2005-2009 and was a consultant to the 2007 Nyberg Summer Seminar, which established a clear direction for mission-driven and market-smart reforms. As IN150/IN151 coordinator (2005-2009), both interdisciplinary courses, I led English faculty through a self-study, resulting in clarification of learning outcomes and a methodology for assessing student success. My involvement with and service to the University Studies Program through the years have naturally led me to the new challenge of serving as the program’s first director.
How did you approach your first year as director?
My yoga teacher tells me, “the way you approach your practice, the way you practice on the mat is how you live your life.” On the mat, I challenge myself beyond each threshold, stretching slowly toward stability, flexibility and balance in each pose. I took the same approach with my responsibility to the University Studies Program this year.
In spring 2010, the Higher Learning Commission focus visit team validated the stability of the University Studies Program, noting its powerful performance assessment practices that create multiple contact points with students, its focus on learning outcomes coupled with meaningful assessments, and its use of assessment analysis to draw conclusions about improving curriculum and pedagogy. Working with my team of coordinators and with faculty across campus, I endeavored this year to maintain stability by strengthening our delivery and assessment processes, promoting the program across campus and recruiting high quality faculty to teach in the program.
Only after you create stability in the pose, can you begin stretching into it. Coordinating a university-wide program is challenging and requires a great deal of flexibility. Faculty and staff from across Millikin’s campus are directly involved with delivering the University Studies program to every Millikin graduate. Not only do faculty from each college teach in the program, but professionals from the Office of Student Success, the Staley Library, the Office of Student Programs, the Career Center, and Health and Counseling provide support both in and outside the classroom. Maintaining productive communications across campus yields positive outcomes for our students. Versatility across a broad spectrum of constituents allowed us to make the stretch.
Some poses require flexibility. Some require balance. Learning how to balance my roles as teacher and director has been exhilarating. As I took on new duties as director this year, continuing to teach in the program has been key. Understanding how the program’s curriculum plays out in the classroom is crucial to advocating for the faculty teaching in the program. In communicating regularly with various colleagues across campus, I gained deeper insight into how we all work together to provide students with opportunities for learning and growth. Understanding what it means to receive a Millikin education from various perspectives helped me to more fully develop as both teacher and director.
Seeking to connect with and create community among various invested parties across the institution, I encountered some of my most demanding moments. Such moments — the most challenging and rewarding ones — required both flexibility and balance. These have been best met in the same way I approach each pose, movement, gesture and breath on my yoga mat: with diligence, perseverance, trust, confidence and hope.
What makes the University Studies Program unique from other universities’ general education programs?
In March, Dr. Larry Troy, Dr. Robert Money and I presented the University Studies Program to the national Association of American Colleges and Universities’ annual conference on best practices in general education. We received recognition from our peers for the distinctive structure of the program as well as for our innovative assessment processes. Peers from across the nation ask us, “how do you do this?” Our answer is always collaboration, transparency and faculty-ownership. The University Studies Program was created, implemented and is assessed by its faculty. Not every college or university allows faculty the kind of ownership of curriculum that we do here at Millikin. Millikin’s culture of collaboration, cooperation, communication and transparency is unique and has provided just the right environment for the creation of our curriculum.
As universities search for ways to transform their outdated general education programs, Millikin’s University Studies Program shines as an effective example of such transformation. Our focus on a skills-based curriculum, which integrates writing, reflection and ethical reasoning, helps broaden students’ minds and prepares them for active participation as citizens. We live in a time when most people will engage in several different professions over the course of their life. Many of the jobs our graduates will hold do not even exist yet. In the University Studies Program, we are helping students develop the habits of mind and lifelong learning skills they will need to be successful in whatever professions they pursue in the future.
The University Studies Program engages students in Millikin’s unique brand of performance learning. At this past spring’s Celebrations of Scholarship, students from various University Studies courses — from IN140 and IN151 to IN350 — performed the knowledge they were acquiring through their research.
We hope to continue recruiting Millikin’s best teachers to implement innovative and distinctive performance learning pedagogies in the sequential and non-sequential courses. We’ll also be looking to involve student leaders in discussions and activities related to the University Studies program. This may take many potential forms, one of which will be to engage interested students as Undergraduate Research Fellows. The more students are directly involved with the University Studies Program both inside and outside the classrooms, the more benefits they’ll receive from the opportunities the program has to offer, including preparation for professions, for global citizenship and for a life of meaning and value. Through the rich learning experiences in the University Studies program, all faculty, students and alumni can live the Millikin mission.
“I feel like I’m on Oprah,” said Allison Wright, a PACE early childhood education major on the receiving end of a laptop computer for the duration of the program. State Farm Insurance Companies made an in-kind gift of 175 gently used Compaq HP Nc6400 laptops in January 2011.
“I completely underestimated the magnitude of the gift when I announced it happily to the class that they were each receiving a laptop for their use,” says Dr. Christie Magoulias, assistant professor in the School of Education.
“I joyfully gave them the news,” she said, “but what I should have done was exuberantly announce it followed with ‘You get a laptop! You get a laptop! You get a laptop!’ pointing to each student Oprah-style.”
As a corporation, State Farm is moving toward more mobility among its employees in the workplace. When the laptops were no longer viable in this environment, the company made several in-kind gifts to various charitable organizations in central Illinois, including Millikin.
PACE (Professional Adult Comprehensive Education) at Millikin is designed for adults with work experience who want to earn a bachelor’s degree. The accelerated program requires students to be highly motivated and dedicated. Many PACE students juggle family, work and school, and the format is designed to make this possible. Being able to use the same laptop computer 24/7 during the entire early childhood education experience is viewed as a huge bonus among the students enrolled in the program, Magoulias says.
Bridget Beals, another PACE early childhood student, says the laptop helps her maximize her time.
“I am able to use this laptop now for the multiple hours of work each week outside of the classroom without interrupting family members using the home computer,” says Beals. “I really appreciate being able to use it in class for taking notes as well as accessing [campus]resources such as Staley Library when necessary.”
Magoulias adds, “Many of these students do not have access to a home computer at all, while some share a computer among an entire family, so the laptops mean they have the ability to complete assignments, communicate with peers and faculty through email, complete online quizzes, participate in forums and find information exactly when they need to.”
“These laptops will serve as a tool for work completion as well as motivation to continue through the most challenging times in the program,” she says.
“State Farm, and in particular its systems department, has been a generous supporter of Millikin for many years,” says Dave Brandon, MU director of development. Most recently, the company’s charitable support has come in the form of grants in support of technology needs and student scholarships at the university. Since 2005, State Farm has provided $150,000 in grants, which have been used to establish a computer networking laboratory, purchase updated hardware and software, and fund many student merit awards recognizing outstanding academic accomplishment in information technology. In addition, State Farm matches charitable gifts made to the university by State Farm employees.
“The relationship between State Farm and Millikin University is strong and rewarding for both parties,” says John Cardamone ’86, a manager with State Farm’s online and mobile unified solutions.
“We are pleased to hear that our laptop donations and grants are directly benefiting the students, many of whom bring their talents to State Farm as interns and full-time employees after receiving a Millikin education.”
DeShawn Pendelton, a 2005 Millikin graduate, was named Employee of the Year for the 2010-11 academic year.
Pendelton, was previously Employee of the Month for March 2011. He began working at the university in early 2005 as a duplicating and imaging technician and was promoted to media support specialist in the information technology department the following year.
Pendelton received several prizes, including an extra week of paid vacation, season tickets to 2011-2012 Kirkland events and department of theatre and dance productions, and a collection of other prizes from Millikin and Decatur area businesses.
Each year, Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity gives “Top Teke” awards to only six out of 250,000 members in 291 chapters across the U.S. and Canada, the highest honor that an undergraduate member can receive. Often, this award goes to undergraduates of larger universities. But this year, for the first time in the fraternity’s history, two men from one chapter, Bobby Gregory of Staunton, Ill., and David Anderson of Poplar Grove, Ill., received the honor simultaneously.
Gregory, a May graduate, distinguished himself for the award through his work as a chemistry major. He was published in a journal for his research at Archer Daniels Midland Co., where he worked to develop oil dispersant for the BP oil spill. Gregory also was a house manager for the fraternity. He is currently working as a medical scribe in an emergency room and will attend medical school next year.
David Anderson, a commercial music major and Presidential Scholar graduating this December, has served as the chaplain and new member educator for TKE, and has served two terms as Interfraternity Council’s first vice president of recruitment, where he worked with the athletics department to increase the number of athletes involved in Greek life. He and fellow TKE Kevin Stocks of Bloomington, Ill., won the “Most Outstanding Team” award at the 2011 Illinois Moot Court Competition. Anderson also founded and is president of the Student Honors Advisory Council. He plans to attend law school next year.
Stocks, TKE’s current president, says, “I’m proud to belong to a chapter that has produced three Top Tekes in two years.”
Success of this sort is not foreign to Millikin’s fraternity community. Last year, Sam Osborne ’10, who was recently named the Big Blue’s golf coach, also received the “Top Teke” award, and during the 2007-08 academic year, the entire house was recognized as a “Top Teke Chapter.” In 2009, Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Rob McNamara ’09 received SAE’s “True Gentleman of the Year” award, SAE’s equivalent to the “Top Teke,” distinguishing himself as the first Millikin SAE to receive this honor; this summer senior Garrett Derman of Irvine, Calif., received the “Outstanding Eminent Archon” award for his accomplishments as president of his chapter at SAE’s annual John O. Moseley Leadership School.
And in 2004, Delta Sigma Phi’s Paul Lidy ’04, now Millikin’s associate director of student programs and the Richards Treat University Center, received DSP’s highest honor, the “E. Allen James Outstanding Undergraduate” award.
by Jackson Lewis ’13
On Nov. 1, 2001, these two men and their wives were inducted into the Millikin Medallion Society, an honorary society formed to recognize 200 individuals who had an extraordinary impact upon the University since its founding in 1901. This spring, both men died only a few weeks apart. The university community will long remember their generous and positive influence on Millikin which will benefit generations of students.
Feb. 27, 1933 - April 21, 2011
The positive impact of Darrell Beck and his late wife, Ursula, can be seen and experienced throughout Millikin and the Decatur-area community. Millikin, Easter Seals, United Way, Decatur School District No. 61, St. Teresa High School, Decatur Park Singers, St. Mary’s Hospital, the Lincoln Theater, Lakeside Music and Arts Festival, Decatur and Illinois state Special Olympics and the Ursula Beck Tennis Tournament were among the many charitable interests they supported with their time, talents and treasures.
Former CEO and president of McKeever Communications, Darrell was a member of Millikin’s class of 1954. Darrell and Ursula were charter members of the Millikin University Investors Society. The Becks’ gifts to Millikin placed them in the magna cum laude category on the wall of philanthropy in Kirkland Fine Arts Center and included support for the Millikin Fund and the Darrell and Ursula Beck Scholarship for students studying dance. Their support of the Campaign for Music during the “Advancing the Vision” capital campaign named the faculty lounge in Perkinson Music Center.
A nine-year member of the Knights of Columbus International Board of Directors, Darrell was elected Supreme Master in 1992 and led 225,000 Sir Knights of the Patriotic Degree of the Knights of Columbus.
Survivors include his son, Mark Beck ’77, his daughters, Angela Beck ’79 and Amy Beck Bliefnick ’79; his grandson, Ted Bliefnick ’04; his granddaughter, Christine Beck Chandler ’06 and her husband, Nate Chandler ’06; and his granddaughter, Emily Beck ’09.
C.D. “PERK” Perkinson
May 15, 1915 – May 31, 2011
C.D. “Perk” Perkinson of Decatur spent his life helping things grow and thrive.
The company he established, Perkinson Company, was the first fertilizer manufacturer in Illinois to sell dry and liquid fertilizer in bulk, which resulted in costs savings and added convenience for his customers. He also designed and built fertilizer spreaders to help farmers use his bulk fertilizer.
However, his efforts to help things grow didn’t stop with farmers. He and his late wife, Patricia Smith Perkinson ’45, had a long history of generous giving to the Decatur community, including numerous gifts to Millikin.
Most significantly, the couple’s commitment of $8 million provided support for the renovation of and addition to the building we now call Perkinson Music Center, as well as an endowment for its maintenance. At the time, it was the largest gift in Millikin’s history. Additionally, they provided funding for Perkinson Gallery in Kirkland Fine Arts Center, the Irene Peck Perkinson Scholarship for deserving music students and also donated the popular campus sculpture known as “Mr. B.B.,” created by sculptor J. Seward Johnson.
In recognition of their support, Millikin awarded honorary degrees to the couple in 1998 and named them co-recipients of the Alumnus of the Year Award in 2000.
Pat died in 2007, but Perk continued to keep an active interest in Millikin, attending numerous events and continuing his financial support of his honorary alma mater and other charitable causes.
An active member of the community, he served on Millikin’s former Advancement Council. He was a past president of the Decatur Club, a past member of Rotary International, a former Macon County United Way chairman, a former state and county 4-H board member and a past member of First United Methodist Church in Decatur. He received the “Do Something Great” Award from the Decatur and Macon County Community Foundation in recognition of his philanthropy, followed by the Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the East Central Illinois Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. At Millikin alone, Perk gave to the annual campaign and every building project on campus for more than 40 years. The Perkinsons were charter members of the Millikin University Investors Society.
Perk and Pat planted something great at Millikin, and the university will be reaping the fruits of it for years to come.
One of Millikin’s earliest heroes was a 1914 graduate who helped fight for women’s right to vote while still a student.
A four-year high honors student, Fay Lynton Fisher ’14 was active in a variety of campus organizations, serving as a chartering member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and editor-in-chief of the 1914 Millidek yearbook.
She also frequently contributed editorials to the Decaturian student newspaper, many of them devoted to the common theme of not judging a book by its cover when getting to know someone. In them, she challenged her classmates to get to know each other better, rather than simply making judgments based on looks, social standing and especially gender. However, her most passionate cause was women’s rights, an area where she served as one of MU’s first proponents of social justice and took an active part in the women’s suffrage movement.
In May 1913, during her junior year, Fisher won the first-ever oratory prize sponsored by the Millikin Club for her speech, "The Equality of Difference," which was published in the May 21 Decaturian. She went on to win the statewide oratorical prize from the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association that same month.
In her speech, she argued that women should be granted the right to vote not because they were starting to work in so-called "masculine fields" but because all women should be given equal political rights due to the equal importance of their achievements in the home. She concluded that women should not be denied "the ballot as a weapon for the protection of [their] home," and that they could "contribute something new, unique, and tremendously forceful to the direction of the state because they possess certain mental abilities, points of view, physical and economic relations and, above all, certain wonderfully fine spiritual appreciations, which men [could not] supply."
Only a few weeks after Fisher made her prize-winning speech, the Illinois General Assembly made Illinois the first state east of the Mississippi to grant women the right to vote in federal and some local elections. It wasn’t complete suffrage, but it was a start. When Fisher returned for her senior year in fall 1913, she helped found the Ex Post Facto Club, created to encourage its female members to become informed voters in exercising their new rights. The club existed for many years on campus (club members pictured below; Fisher is front center).
Fisher returned to her alma mater twice in the 1920s to teach English. She also taught for public schools in Decatur and Indiana, at Massachusetts’ Wellesley College and Ohio’s Western Reserve University.
Truly one of the earliest members of Millikin’s very own "justice league," Fisher lived a life that was reflected
in a line ascribed to her portrait in her senior Millidek yearbook: "In Suffragette parades she takes the lead."
by Amanda Pippitt and Todd Rudat, University Archivists