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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Commencement 

A Celebration of Commencement at Millikin University

Millikin University's first commencement, held on June 5, 1904, awarded degrees to three students. Edward L King was the first student to receive a Bachelor of Science degree from Millikin University. The other two students received advanced degrees in Pedagogy. This class of three in 1904, grew to 40 in 1914. The first class of over 100 graduated in 1940, with 104 students. Graduates decreased during the years of World War II, but grew by leaps and bounds following the war. The class of 1950 had 452 graduates!

The first commencement ceremonies were held in Albert Taylor Theatre in Shilling Hall. As the class size grew the ceremony was moved to Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 1949 the ceremony was held on the Athletic Field to accommodate the large class numbers. In 1963 ceremonies were moved to the Pavilion at Fairview Park, and in 1996 they were first held at the Civic Center.

Over the years there have been a number of other activities associated with commencement. Classes of the first few decades would spend a morning prior to the ceremonies motoring through Decatur in their automobiles. During the First World War students began a Lantern Parade and Sing that continued until 1969. Although the associated events and traditions have varied over the years, commencement has been a very special event for all associated with Millikin University.

Commencement announcement from June 1905
Above: An announcement for the second commencement exercises in June of 1905.
There were nine graduates in this class.

1904 commencement program
Inside of 1904 commencement program
Left & Above: Program for Millikin University's first commencement in 1904. There were three graduates at this ceremony.

Class of 1910 with donations

Left: The class of 1910 gathers at the bench and marker they donated as a class gift to Millikin University.

Right: The class of 1932 files into Shilling Hall for the commencement ceremony, held in Albert Taylor Theatre. Class of 1932 procession

Members of the class of 1957 running from Shilling Hall Left: Members of the Class of 1957 make their final dash from the MU towers of Shilling Hall. Beginning in 1949 the ceremonies were held on the Athletic Field to accomodate the large in flux of students following World War II.

50th anniversary of Commencement program from 1953
Above: Traditional and special events were planned to commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary Commencement
in 1953. Millikin's fiftieth graduating class had 209 graduates.

1986 Commencement in Fairview Park Left: The 1986 Commencement Exercises were held in the Fairveiw Park Pavillion. The ceremonies were first held in Fairview Park in 1963. In 1996 they were moved to the Decatur Civic Center.

Right: Commencement 1987. The graduating seniors enter Fairview Park surrounded on either side by the faculty who applaud their achievements. 1987 Commencement in Fairview Park

 

This page created March 21, 2005
Copyright: Millikin University Board of Trustees

 

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