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Millikin University officials announced the official launch of “Transform MU,” a new, five-year, $85 million capital campaign, on May 14, 2010. At a morning news conference, Millikin President Douglas E. Zemke noted that more than $25 million has already been contributed by alumni, parents, community leaders and friends of the university.  

The announcement outlined ambitious plans to revitalize the east side of Millikin’s 75-acre campus and increase the University’s endowment and scholarship support, underscoring the University’s commitment to its mission of preparing tomorrow’s leaders for professional success, democratic citizenship, and a personal life of meaning and value. 

“Since its founding in 1901, Millikin has been transforming student lives by delivering on the promise of education,” remarked Zemke, a 1966 Millikin graduate. “Through the years, our commitment to the University’s mission has remained steadfast. This campaign will transform the university and solidify its position as one of the most distinctive higher educational experiences in the Midwest. It will ensure that future generations of graduates leave here with the confidence to succeed in a world where the only certainty is that change will come.”

“We are pleased at the early response to this effort at a defining moment in Millikin’s history,” said Peg Luy, vice president for alumni and development and a 1975 Millikin graduate. Luy heads up the Millikin staff members who work with volunteers to coordinate fundraising efforts for the Transform MU campaign. “These essential improvements are needed to prepare our students to be self-assured leaders in their fields whose positive impact on our world will be felt by all of us.” 

The “Transform MU” Campaign Steering Committee is co-chaired by Dr. Stephen Huss, a Decatur-based orthopaedic surgeon, and Mike Waller ’63, retired publisher and CEO of The Baltimore Sun. Other committee members include Kevin Breheny, president of J.L. Hubbard Insurance and Bonds; Mikel Briggs ’79, president of Bretford Manufacturing Inc.; Frank Tyrolt ’54, retired CEO of Dunn Company; and Margaret “Peggy” Madden, community volunteer. Douglas R. Oberhelman ’75, CEO of Caterpillar Inc., is serving as honorary chairman.

“One of the things that I remember so well from my time at Millikin is the spirit and confidence that was instilled in all of us – that we could go anywhere and do anything we wanted,” said Oberhelman. “Those early days at Millikin gave me the confidence to do anything I wanted to do. As I think about Millikin today, and that spirit rekindling, it’s really the point we’re after in our Transform MU campaign.”


Construction of the Millikin University Center

Richards Treat University Center, built in 1979, was designed for a student body nearly half the size of the current one. The “Transform MU” campaign seeks to raise $27.2 million for construction of a new student center allowing additional room for student organizations, dining venues, print and postal services, informal meeting spaces and more. Studies have shown that in this case, new construction is less costly than attempting to renovate and expand the current facility.

“The hub of campus life at any college or university is always the student center,” said Renardo Hall, dean of student development. “This new addition to Millikin will infuse new life and vitality into the campus community for everyone – traditional students and graduate students, residential and commuter students, faculty members and alumni. It will also be welcoming ‘front door’ to our beautiful campus for prospective students and visitors.” 

Expansion of the Griswold Physical Education Center

The Department of Exercise Science and Sport is one of the most rapidly growing programs at Millikin, with more than 180 students enrolled in four learning areas. The “Transform MU” campaign seeks to raise $16 million for the expansion of Griswold Physical Education Center, which will improve classroom instruction and allow room for experiential learning opportunities, ensuring that the program continues to grow and meet the needs future students.

“The expansion of Griswold will provide additional classroom space, establishing an academic home for our department by allowing our majors to take classes together in one place. It will also allow room for learning labs where our students can assess fitness levels, prescribe fitness plans and provide athletic training,” remarked Don Luy, chair of the Department of Exercise Science and Sport. “This additional space for hands-on learning is critical, as our majors are very much an application of knowledge.” 
Also included in the $16 million is funding for enhancements to the football and soccer facilities.

Renovation and expansion of the Old Gym into a new home for the Department of Theatre and Dance

Millikin has one of the oldest and largest undergraduate musical theatre programs in the country. Nationwide, agents and theatre companies routinely hire Millikin alumni to work for network television, motion pictures and live theatre, including some of Broadway’s top shows. 

However, the department’s existing spaces are overcrowded and outdated. Faculty offices, practice studios and performance areas are scattered in 12 separate locations on campus. The  “Transform MU” campaign seeks to raise $15.5 million for the renovation and expansion of the Old Gym, allowing ample space for classes, rehearsals, experimental theatre and other collaborative efforts, ensuring that Millikin’s Department of Theatre and Dance has adequate space to maintain and advance its reputation of excellence.

“Our alumni have proven time and time again the superior preparation a Millikin education has given them,” said Laura Ledford, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “Although this success is impressive, we now find ourselves at a tipping point.”


Each year, approximately 97 percent of Millikin students receive more than $27 million in student financial aid, including scholarship support made possible by generous Millikin donors. The “Transform MU” campaign seeks to raise $10 million to ensure that future students have the financial resources available to pay for college costs. 

Other significant priorities
Support of the Millikin Fund, faculty development, building endowment and infrastructure ensures future generations of Millikin students have access to high quality educational experiences, complete with excellent faculty, engaging student programs and well-maintained facilities reflective of the outstanding work taking place inside them. The “Transform MU” campaign seeks to raise $16.3 million for these priorities. 

For more information or to make a contribution, visit www.millikin.edu/transform.
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL