Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Student Work

Our students are excellent.  Nineteen of our twenty-one current majors took the ACT.  The average score was 28.1.  This compares to an overall Millikin average of 23. Because philosophy is so rigorous, we attract the best of Millikin’s students.  Students rarely come to Millikin as a declared philosophy major, since few have even heard of this discipline in high school. Students switch to or add philosophy as a major because they recognize the quality of the teaching provided by our faculty, the way philosophical study develops the skill sets essential to any quality educational experience, and because of the power of the questions philosophy forces students to ask and wrestle with, questions that form the heart of a life of meaning and value—one part of Millikin’s stated mission “to deliver on the promise of education.”

At the 2009 Humanities Undergraduate Research Forum (HURF), sophomore philosophy major Klay Baynar (right) was awarded first place for his essay, "Nietzsche on the Values of Religion." In addition, senior philosophy major Tom Fowle was awarded third place for his essay, "Deterministic Utilitarianism." Both students provided summaries of their essays and fielded questions from the audience. HURF is held each year as part of Millikin's campus-wide Celebration of Scholarship day.  

At the 2008 Humanities Undergraduate Research Forum (HURF), sophomore philosophy major and Presidential Scholar Dustin Clark was awarded first place for his essay, "Nietzsche's Metaphysical Error." At HURF, Dustin gave an oral presentation to a campus-wide audience in which he reviewed the basic arguments of his paper. Next, Dr. Money provided a commentary on the paper. Finally, Dustin fielded questions from the audience.

Dustin was also awarded with a 2009 Scovill Prize. The Scovill Prize is Millikin's highest academic honor, given on the basis of academic achievement, campus leadership, service and scholarship. 

Philosophy majors have performed very well in recent years at the Model Illinois Government Moot Court competition. At the 2005 competition, Millikin teams took first and second place. Three of the four participating students were philosophy majors: Nichole Johnson (far left), Collen Cunningham (next to Johnson) and Gregg Lagger (far right).

At the 2008 Moot Court competition, Millikin teams took first and third place. The first place team consisted of two philosophy majors, Kenny Miller and Dustin Clark (left, at the capital building in Springfield).

At the 2009 Moot Court competition, Millikin teams took first and second place. The first place team consisted of two philosophy majors, Kenny Miller (repeating as champion) and Justin Allen. In addition to their team victory, Justin Allen was recognized as "Best Moot Court Attorney."

At Millikin's 2009 Honors Convocation, Kenny Miller received the T.W. Samuels Award for an outstanding student in pre-law. Justin Allen received the Thomas W. and Mary R. Adney Memorial Award for an outstanding student in pre-law. 


Our students regularly participate in events such as the Chicago Humanities Festival. Pictured are Millikin students Dustin Clark (philosophy major), Erin Jurgens, and Natalie Perfetti (philosophy minor) with E. L. Doctorow, author of The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, and The March, just before he was presented with the 2007 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize.  

Our students have continued a long tradition of excellent work-and their senior theses and the number of students who are Scovill Prize winners prove it. Some of our students have even published in national philosophy journals (see Danielle LaSusa, below). Take a look at these recent essays by:

Colette Gortowski, '07: "The Greening of Ethics: Reflections on Nature's Intrinsic Value and its Implications"

Colleen Cunningham, '07: "And Justice For All: A Philosophical Examination of Vegeance"

Kyle Fritz, ’07:  “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It. If it is Broke…: Calvinism, Open Theism, and the Usefulness of Insufficient Theology”

Nichole Johnson, '07: "A look at personal identity according to Parfit"

Mark Fredricksen, '07: "Computer Ethics"

Bjorn Bollig, ’07: Naturalism and the Death of an Illusion

Cole Pezley, ’07:  “The Illusive Nature of Happiness”

Ashley Goodson, ’06: Affluenza: Buying a Hole in Our Lives

Jordan Snow, ’06:  “Fundamental Divisions:  Preparing a Form of Education for a Modern Democratic Society”

Corey Bechtel, ’06: “Negative and Positive Liberty and the American Constitution” 

Stephanie Janecke, ’06:  “I Should Have Had the Apple: An Examination of the Tensions Between Freewill and Determinism”

Shaun Miller, ’06: “Marx and Class Struggle”

Nic Curry, ’05: Amor Fati: Nietzsche's Fatalism in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five.

Kelli Willis, ’05: “No One Can Do Everything, But Everyone Can Do Something: Kelli Mae’s Guide to Saving the World”

Danielle LaSusa, ’04: “Beyond the Frame:  Atomism in the Epistemology and Aesthetics of Photography" - A version of this paper was published as: "Eiffel Tower, Key Chains and Other Pieces of Reality: The Philosophy of Souvenirs." The Philosophical Forum, Volume 38, Issue 3, Page 271-287, Sep 2007. It can currently be viewed at a special display in Staley Library.

Katherine Guin, ’03: “Establishing Values: Nietzsche and the Relationship of Truth to Values”

Robert Lininger, ’02:  “Passion and Paradox: An Investigation into Kierkegaard’s View of Faith”

Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL