The University - A Perspective
What James Millikin envisioned when he founded the University in 1901 was unique: the University would embrace the “practical” side of learning along with the “literary and classical;” and, while affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, it would not be narrowly “sectarian” and would remain open to all.
James Millikin’s vision combined the purposes of private education with those of large, public, land-grant institutions. Traditionally, private universities emphasized education for its own sake; Millikin insisted that his University also serve practical purposes. Traditional curricular programs focused on the liberal arts; Millikin also emphasized science and the professions. The traditional private universities served the sons of privilege; Millikin University opened its doors to men and women from diverse social and economic backgrounds.
The founding vision of “side by side” learning has evolved at Millikin University to an integration of learning for the needs of the 21st century. Millikin University has structured itself to provide students a wide choice of experiences and programs found at much larger universities, while also offering the “small college experience” of an individualized education in a supportive environment that respects difference and fosters community. The faculty is committed to each student’s success. The University serves as a civic partner and an educational resource for adults, children, and organizations in its local and regional communities, and as a continuing touchstone in the lives of its alumni.
The result is one of the nation’s first small, comprehensive universities that, more than a century later, continues to tout strong academic programs in the liberal arts, professional and pre-professional arenas. Colleges and schools include: College of Arts and Sciences, College of Professional Studies, College of Fine Arts, and Tabor School of Business. In addition, Millikin offers a masters degree program in business administration (MBA), a masters degree program in nursing (MSN) and an accelerated adult bachelors degree completion program known as PACE (Professional Adult Comprehensive Education).
With an enrollment of almost 2,400 students, Millikin is located in Decatur, Illinois, a metropolitan area of 100,000 within three hours driving distance from Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis. Millikin is a devoted partner to the Decatur-area community. Its students thrive in a "performance learning" environment which calls them to live out their learning on the stage, in internships, as consultants, at conferences, in competition or other public arenas where their knowledge is tested. It’s this type of critical and supportive learning environment that builds Millikin students’ confidence to succeed before and after graduation. And Millikin students do succeed. For the past ten years, an average of 98% of its students have gained employment or gone on to graduate or professional school within six months of graduation.