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.