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What is MY Times?

MY Times is a monthly online newsletter designed specifically for Millikin Young Alumni who have graduated within the past decade and features information about Millikin events, upcoming alumni events in your area and a closer look at ways to stay engaged with Millikin!

Ryan Abernathy, Michael Gurney and Caleb Buscher
Name (from left): Ryan Abernathy '13, Michael Gurney '10 and Caleb Buscher '13

Millikin Majors:
Ryan:
Marketing
Caleb: Marketing
Michael: 2D Commercial Art/Computer Design




Current job position (or additional field of study) and where:
Ryan, Caleb and Michael: Co-Founder of Quiglees

Why did you choose MU?

Ryan: I chose Millikin at the very last minute and was sold after one visit to the school. I met with the dean of the school of business and was impressed with what I would be working on during my four years at MU. I just had a feeling that I would enjoy some great opportunities that weren’t necessarily available at the other schools I had visited.
Caleb: I was interested in pursuing business, and MU has a great business school. I also enjoyed all of the professors in the Tabor School of Business during my first visit.
Michael: I chose MU for its vibrant, creative community where everyone seemed to have their own talents and were extremely good at them. I felt that I could learn a lot from not only the daily college classes but also from the students I sat next to every day. For one of my first visits, I attended a small concert featuring a student giving a guitar performance. The next morning, I saw him fencing with another student and thought to myself, “Wow, people sure are versatile here.”

What activities did you participate in as a student at MU?

Ryan: I was heavily involved with Greek life as a member of Delta Sigma Phi. I held a position on IFC, had a radio show with WJMU and also ran cross country and track for part of my time at Millikin.
Caleb: I was involved in Greek life through Delta Sigma Phi. I was also the student representative to the board of trustees, as well as serving as the vice president of student affairs on Student Senate. I headed the Student Organizations Allocations Committee which allocated funds to student organizations on campus.
Michael:
Cross country, track, Physical Graffiti and Delta Sigma Phi

Who was your most memorable MU professor and why?

Ryan: Dennis Schweiger definitely takes the cake. His classes were all discussion-based, which I felt made for a more enjoyable experience. You never knew what thoughts or ideas would be presented, and it definitely helped me expand my knowledge of marketing rather than sitting through a dry lecture. It’s a shame I only had him for one class!
Caleb: It is hard to name a favorite considering I enjoyed classes with Sharon Alpi, Carrie Trimble and many more. However, if I had to pick one it would be Dennis Schwieger. He brought a contagious energy to the classroom, and I would always leave his class with something to think about and grow on. His experience and style of teaching made even dull subjects intriguing.
Michael:
Professor Murphy of the history department was my favorite. When he was teaching his classes, he would ask the students questions in order to learn from them. Professor Murphy was just as interested in learning from the students as he was in teaching them, which made his classes incredibly engaging.

What is your most memorable MU experience?

Ryan: Joining Delta Sig created so many experiences and offered so many different leadership and personal growth opportunities that it’s hard to pick just one experience, so I would say it is joining Delta Sig as a whole.
Caleb: Probably my time in Delta Sigma Phi. I cannot pick a specific time, but all of the memories contributed to my overall experience. Delta Sig is where I met the other two founders of Quiglees, Ryan Abernathy and Michael Gurney. The friendship that we built in college has lasted well after graduation and continues to thrive in our business venture together.
Michael: There’s too many to name, but if I had to pick one, I’d say The Plunge my freshman year.

What is one concept you learned at Millikin that you use in your work regularly?
Ryan: In order to have a successful company, you need to either identify or create a need for people so they will purchase your product. That’s pretty basic, but it is a very prominent focus when involved in a startup.
Caleb: Hard work. As with many startups, starting Quiglees has been a lot of work. When I was at Millikin, I was involved in many different organizations and classes which demanded a lot of my time. Having a full-time job currently and running Quiglees on the side is the same concept. The challenge is finding the most productive ways to get things accomplished in the allotted amount of time.
Michael: Try your hardest to avoid the words, “I can’t.”

What do you enjoy most about your current job?
Ryan: The creative potential with a new company is limitless during the startup period. I think that has made for a lot of fun up until this point, and I’m excited to see where it goes.
Caleb: Quiglees is something that Ryan, Michael and I see as fun, not work. My favorite part of it is the concept of helping others. We aren’t selling products that are harmful to consumers or anything that we would be ashamed of. Quiglees provides healthy snack alternatives that many people have incorporated into their diet in an effort to lose weight, gain muscle or just improve their overall health. The success stories that we hear from subscribers make it worth it.
Michael: Learning about all aspects of business and working with a diverse team that always brings something different to the table. With that type of team dynamic, you’re always raising your standards on how to better present and communicate your ideas.

What have you done that you are most proud of since graduating from MU?
Ryan: I think starting our snack company, Quiglees, would have to be what stands out to me. It’s taken a lot of hard work, and I think all of us are incredibly proud of how far we’ve come in such a short time.
Caleb: Starting Quiglees. It has been a blast so far and we are only just beginning.
Michael: I applied to be a part of a street team for a small clothing company I highly respected in the Los Angeles area in hopes of helping the company expand their apparel sales across the country. The application requested a written response on what the applicant would do to help strengthen the company and pending the answer, the applicant would be accepted onto the street team for their ideas to be put into effect. Out of more than 100 applicants, 10 people were picked and I was one of them. It was a small victory but the company was something I wanted to be a part of in some way.

Where do you hope to be five years from now?
Ryan: I’m hoping that Quiglees will get off the ground and that I can be in a role that involves a lot of travel. Other than that, I’ll see where life takes me.
Caleb: Working on Quiglees full-time and giving back. Once we are self-sustaining, we have plans to implement several programs to give back.
Michael: Continuing to expand the Quiglees brand and offering different products to our customers.

What is a short piece of advice you’d give to current Millikin students about preparing for life after graduation?
Ryan: Take it one step at a time. You may not like your first job, and your dreams certainly won’t take flight as soon as you take off your cap and gown. Just make sure that every decision you make helps lead you to where you want to end up.
Caleb: Always be willing to try new things. Never be afraid to take on challenges. And most importantly … never settle.
Michael: Don’t be afraid to start your own club, business, project, etc. If you put smart planning and hard work behind any initiative, you can achieve countless goals in your lifetime.

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Want to be featured in the "Young Alumni Spotlight?" Weare seeking recommendations and self-nominations for outstanding youngalumni who have demonstrated innovative and responsible professionalleadership and have the potential for future success. Email JaclynCantwell ’09, associate director of alumni engagement, at jcantwell@millikin.edu,with a short write-up of why you or your nominee should be consideredfor this profile. Please include a list of successes and achievements inyour nomination, and attach a portrait or headshot (if available). Onealum will be featured in each issue of MY Times. 

Beginning fall 2015, all Tabor School of Business students will be required to complete an internship. Internships give students performance learning opportunities, a staple of a Millikin education, and provide students with beneficial experience. Marianne Taylor will serve as the new Tabor internship and MBA coordinator. She is charged with finding local companies who can provide an internship experience for Tabor students and then helping students get placed at these internships.

“Many of our students currently are engaged in an internship in the Decatur area and love it,” says Taylor. “It is a benefit to both the student and Decatur business community. Adding this requirement to our students’ core studies will ensure that all students receive the benefit of working an internship.”

Current internship partnerships include:

  • Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM)
  • BKD Accounting Service
  • Carle Hospital
  • Caterpillar Inc.
  • Decatur Memorial Hospital
  • Eichenauer Services Inc.
  • Fastenal
  • Girl Scouts of America
  • Millikin University
  • Northwest Financial
  • Sikich Accounting
  • St. Mary’s Hospital
  • State Farm
  • The Decatur Area Arts Council
  • The Decatur Chamber of Commerce        
  • The Decatur Civic Center

If you or your company is interested is hosting a Millikin intern, please email Marianne Taylor at mgtaylor@millikin.edu or call 217-424-3503.

The title of this article may be misleading, as showing gratitude should not be seasonal. However, with temperatures dropping and the holidays looming, an attitude of gratitude may be the hottest item to acquire this season.  

Consider those in your professional life that have made an impact on you this year. Be sure to show appreciation to your mentors and colleagues that have made a positive impression on your professional life. This does not mean you need to buy an elaborate gift. A thoughtful note or card can be a simple, yet meaningful, way to show appreciation.

Be grateful for the diversity among your colleagues in your work environment. Consider that not everyone celebrates the same holidays in the same ways. Strive to be inclusive of all your associates when planning gatherings or events. This is a great way to show appreciation and consideration for the rich cornucopia of individuals you work with.  

Take time out to “do you.” It is certainly important to recognize and serve others in your life, but be sure to take time to be grateful for yourself. Reward yourself with something that you enjoy. Dust off that novel you always meant to finish and participate in National Novel Writing Month. Sign up for that cooking class you always wanted to try. Do something – big or small – to show you are grateful for your ability to continue to nurture yourself and grow personally and professionally.    

Have other ideas on how to show gratitude? Tweet @CareerCenter_MU and use #gratitudeattitude.

Happy Holidays!

Kristin Nisbet-White
Assistant Director
Millikin Career Center
Names:
Alex Berry '09 and Molly Pawsey Berry '05

Hometowns:
Alex: Redmon, Ill.
Molly: Clyde, Ohio

Millikin majors:
Alex:
Communication
Molly: Communication (Bluffton University)

When, where, and how did you first meet at Millikin?
Alex: Molly and I first met the summer of 2007 when she started at Millikin as an area coordinator in Residence Life. I was working as a summer RA.
Molly: The summer of 2007 is a blur because I was moving to Illinois and starting over. But, I do have funny memories of Alex, Traci Rapp, Bean Miller and Jaclyn Weisenborn Cantwell “running the show” during RA staff training. They would typically be in the back of the class laughing about some inside joke and wreaking havoc amongst the other staff members.

What do you remember about the first time meeting each other?
Alex: I always like to tell the classic tale of Molly and me not really seeing eye-to-eye early on. She was fresh out of grad school and I can lovingly say now that she spewed rainbows and lollipops. I could not have been on the more opposite side of the spectrum.
Molly: Alex Berry was a no-nonsense, matter-of-fact, smoking, debating bully. Or so I had painted him in my head. My energetic, optimistic, 24-year-old self realized quickly that I was not going to build any sort of lasting connection with him, so I moved on.

What did you do on your first date?
Alex: It’s still a debate to this day as to what constituted our “first date.” After I graduated, I worked for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Since I didn’t have a physical office, the Residence Life staff was kind enough to let me use one of their spare offices. Mine was across from Molly’s. I asked her if she could take pictures of my dogs. My repayment to her was taking her out to dinner. She claims this was our first date, but it was strictly a business transaction.
Molly: After Alex graduated and started to work in the office space in Residence Life, we definitely started to build a friendship. When he told me to pick a place to go to dinner “as repayment” for taking pictures of the pups, I agreed, but then never set a time or date. He had to remind me a few times, and we finally drove to Bloomington for dinner. It was lovely. It was totally our first date. From that moment on, we were inseparable.

Where was your favorite place to hang out together at Millikin?
Alex: We had good times in Molly’s apartment in Hessler Hall. I always had to be drugged with allergy medicine because I was allergic to her cat, Bennett.
Molly: We had a lot of group get-togethers in my apartment for various things (Sunday dinners, Miss America Pageant, Series Finale of “Lost,” etc.), and Alex was always a part of that. I remember one particular event caused me to have a lot of dirty dishes left behind, and he washed every last dish in my apartment. I was hooked.

What is your most memorable Millikin experience as a couple?
Alex: Since Molly still works at Millikin and we live on campus, every day is still a Millikin experience! If I had to pick one, though, it would be our wedding day. We had quite the Millikin gathering since our roots are so deep in the Big Blue.
Molly: Millikin will always be the place that led me to my husband. Although we didn’t share a “college love story,” I will always associate MU and the people we met here with our history. Millikin will always be special to me because of Alex.

What advice would you give young couples in love at Millikin?
Alex: Always keep an open mind! I am sure if you asked either of us seven years ago if we would be together, let alone married, we would have gotten a good chuckle. It’s funny how life leads you to people, and in our case, back to people.
Molly: Don’t live your life based on first impressions. Alex is exactly who I need in my life. As soon as I saw past whom I assumed he was, things just clicked.

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Want to share your story of how you found love at Millikin? Email Jaclyn Cantwell ’09, associate director of alumni engagement, at jcantwell@millikin.edu, with your expressed interest. One couple will be featured each issue in MY Times.

Now that the professional football season is in full swing, we thought the time was right to ask:  Did you know one of Millikin’s alums was a running back for the Chicago Bears for seven seasons?

George Corbett ’34 studied commerce and finance at Millikin and was an active student. Along with playing football for the Big Blue, he was a member of the Spanish Club and Kappa Delta Chi fraternity, serving as president for two years. (Kappa Delta Chi merged with Sigma Alpha Epsilon in 1933.)  

During his four years in MU football, Corbett led the team in scoring, was all-conference each year and served as team captain his senior year. During the 1929 conference season, he was awarded the Peoria Transcript trophy as most valuable player. Voted MVP by the conference coaches, he was the first sophomore to ever receive the trophy; all previous winners were seniors.          

Corbett went on to play for the Chicago Bears from 1932-1938. His career NFL statistics include:
  • Rushing attempts-yards: 136-425
  • Receptions-yards: 14-250
  • Touchdowns: 2

Corbett was inducted into Millikin’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1970. At the time of his induction, he held the MU records for the longest kickoff return for a touchdown (95 yards ‒ twice!) and was fourth on the all-time scoring list.      

George Corbett died in October 1990 at the age of 82. He will be remembered as one of 24 MU players who have enjoyed professional football careers in the NFL, CFL, European and Arena football leagues.  Along with Corbett, seven of these players played in the Chicago Bears organization.  
Reid Jones

Name: Reid Jones ’06

Millikin major:
Business management with a concentration in entrepreneurship

Current job position (or additional field of study) and where:
Founder of Qualiu, a sports clothing company in St. Louis

Why did you choose MU?
Millikin provided the opportunity for me to learn more about diversity, arts and business. MU's history of accomplishments gave me confidence and pride in being a part of the best. And the basketball program is like a family to me.

Who was your most memorable MU professor and why?
Rick Bibb. He was the hardest, but I learned sales and marketing from him and apply it every day.

What is your most memorable MU experience?
In education, the day I found my passion to advance my learning. In basketball, beating Augustana my senior year. And around campus, socializing in The Woods.

What is one concept you learned at Millikin that you use in your work regularly?
Problem solving.

What do you enjoy most about your current job?
Being challenged and feeling like I’m making a difference.

What have you done that you are most proud of since graduating from MU?
Giving back.

Where do you hope to be five years from now?
I'm focused on the moment and hope it will take me beyond where I hope to be.

What advice would you give to current Millikin students about preparing for life after graduation?
Don't be afraid to challenge yourself, always be improving and be passionate.

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Want to be featured in the "Young Alumni Spotlight?" We are seeking recommendations and self-nominations for outstanding young alumni who have demonstrated innovative and responsible professional leadership and have the potential for future success. Email Jaclyn Cantwell ’09, associate director of alumni engagement, at jcantwell@millikin.edu, with a short write-up of why you or your nominee should be considered for this profile. Please include a list of successes and achievements in your nomination, and attach a portrait or headshot (if available). One alum will be featured in each issue of MY Times.

New Turf

Last Saturday, Millikin hosted its first night football game in 86 years as a result of renovations to Frank M. Lindsay Field made possible by donations to the “Transform MU” capital campaign! The game with Aurora College kicked off at 6 p.m., and a rededication ceremony was held prior to the game, recognizing the donors whose gifts funded the significant renovations and additions to the field.

Cost for the project was $1.75 million, which financed the new artificial turf playing surface, installation of field lighting and track resurfacing. A new video scoreboard and sound system were also added, both financed by advertising dollars.

"The new turf, lights, resurfaced track and scoreboard are a major step forward for Millikin Athletics," said Director of Athletics and Recreation Dr. Craig White. "It is the stated mission of Millikin Athletics to create great experiences for student-athletes. These improvements will help us achieve this goal."

Come check out the new field at the Homecoming game next Saturday, Oct. 11, vs. Illinois Wesleyan at 1 p.m.

Watch a clip of the Big Blue practicing for their first home game on the new turf!

Seeking a balance in your life?  The Millikin mission can provide inspiration:

To Deliver on the Promise of Education.
At Millikin, we prepare students for:

  • Professional success;
  • Democratic citizenship in a global environment;
  • A personal life of meaning and value.

The tenets of Millikin’s mission remain relevant long after graduation as you seek harmony and balance in your personal and professional life (please also keep in mind the importance of democratic citizenship in a global environment). Consider these tips:

  1. Reflect. Take time to evaluate where you are professionally and personally and where you want to go. Being in touch with your values, interests, dreams and goals will help you to maintain perspective and plan for the future.
  2. Connect. Stay connected to friends and family, and continue to build and maintain your professional network. Making the extra effort of a phone call, coffee break with a colleague or a friendly email can help to relieve stress, add joy to your life and may lead to a professional opportunity.
  3. Represent. Consider your personal brand. Look for opportunities that allow you to share your strengths and develop new skills. Consider the talents that you may not be able to use in your daily in work life. Take the leap — join that barbershop quartet or new book club, and pursue your passions. When others see in you the positive qualities you recognize within yourself, at work and at play, you will be living your brand and leaving your legacy.

Every day brings its challenges, but keep that Big Blue Can Do attitude, and a life of meaning and value and professional success will be within your reach!

Stay connected to Career Opportunities through MU!

By Kristin Nisbet-White, assistant director of the Millikin Career Center

Amy Baird Peifer ’08 and Ryan Peifer ’09

Names:
Amy Baird Peifer ’08 and Ryan Peifer ’09

Hometowns:
Ryan: Oreana, Ill.
Amy: Springfield, Ill.

Millikin majors:
Ryan: Computer Science
Amy: Interdepartmental Psychology, Sociology and Communication

When, where, and how did you first meet at Millikin?
Ryan: We first met at a friend’s place in The Woods. My reason for going to the apartment was to meet a high school friend who was in town with a college buddy visiting his girlfriend. His girlfriend happened to be friends with Amy. That night was a lot of fun and I didn’t want it to end. Despite the sparks between us, Amy thought I was a little young for her since she was a sophomore and I was only a freshman.
Amy: Our first official meeting was at a mutual friend’s apartment in The Woods. We immediately connected and enjoyed a great conversation all evening. I do remember seeing him randomly throughout campus walking to classes and seeing him at football practice while I was at swim practice, but that was before we officially met.

What do you remember about the first time meeting each other?
Ryan: There was an instant connection. We couldn’t stop smiling and conversation felt so natural. The night was amazing but once Amy found out I was a freshman, she didn’t pursue anything until later.
Amy: I remember how cute he was! His smile is to die for and we just clicked. Although this is not true, I know Ryan will bring it up: He claims that once he told me that he was a freshman, I quit talking to him since I was a sophomore. For the record, that is not true!

What did you do on your first date?
Ryan: Watched the movie, “Coach Carter” at Amy’s apartment and had a home-cooked meal. Nothing fancy, but we definitely enjoyed the time together.
Amy: We watched a movie at my apartment in The Woods. We enjoyed an evening of cooking a homemade dinner and good conversation. I had a swim meet the next day and I remember him calling to wish me luck.

Where was your favorite place to hang-out together at Millikin?
Ryan: There wasn’t any one spot, but you could probably find us strolling around campus in between classes and practice.
Amy: There wasn’t any one spot, but you could probably find us strolling around campus in between classes and practice.

What is your most memorable Millikin experience as a couple?
Ryan: Definitely the night I asked Amy to marry me. We were downtown following a dinner when I asked her. She said “yes,” and we headed back to campus to celebrate with friends. I wouldn’t have done it any differently. I wanted it to be somewhere we could always go back to and remind us of the great memories we had while at Millikin.
Amy: Our time at Millikin was something to cherish. It seems like yesterday that we were roaming the campus headed to class or a practice while holding hands and loving life. Every one of our classmates was so friendly and inviting that we really felt like Millikin was a family. No one certain time stands out as the most memorable because all of our memories are positive. If I had to choose, I’d pick the night Ryan proposed and asked me to be his wife!

Where has your relationship taken you since Millikin?
Ryan: We have been married for a little over five years. Amy has since earned her master’s in social work and now a bachelor’s in nursing. She is doing amazing work at Springfield Clinic for a great cardiologist. I have been at Horace Mann Insurance for five years working in IT to help provide lifelong financial well-being for educators and their families. The highlight so far was welcoming our baby boy into the world June 11, 2014.
Amy: Shortly after Ryan graduated in 2009, we got married and he moved to Springfield. Since then, we have enjoyed establishing our careers — Ryan is a software engineer at Horace Mann Insurance, and I’m a registered nurse at Springfield Clinic. We bought our first home in 2013 and welcomed an absolutely beautiful baby boy, August Dean Peifer, on June 11, 2014.

What advice would you give young couples in love at Millikin?
Ryan and Amy: Cherish every moment! Before you know it, you’ll have your full-time careers, will be married, and possibly have children on the way. Take the time to really get to know each other and spend quality time together before life picks up quickly and it’s not as easy to just hang out. Take walks, have water fights, cook dinners, go to LSB, have that margarita at Mi Pueb. Be spontaneous! Travel. Hang out with friends. Get to know each other’s families. Most of all, don’t forget about your studies, because having a solid career will make your life more enjoyable and make your love stronger. Good luck!

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Want to share your story of how you found love at Millikin? Email Jaclyn Cantwell ’09, associate director of alumni engagement, at jcantwell@millikin.edu, with your expressed interest. One couple will be featured each issue in MY Times.

Millikin Miles

Back to school for these MU teaching alumni meant setting up their classroom for the school year! They’ve even proudly displayed their MU pride!

  • Christopher Weisenborn ’08 (left), Maroa-Forsyth High School in Maroa, Ill.
  • Morgan Rufty ’11 (top right), Virginia CUSD No. 64 in Virginia, Ill.
  • Peter Manzi ’07 (bottom right), Carlsbad High School in Carlsbad, Calif.

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Have a Millikin Miles moment you would like to share?

Send us photos of your travels showing your Big Blue pride on display.

  • Images may be emailed to Jaclyn Cantwell ’09 at jcantwell@millikin.edu
  • Or mailed to:
    Millikin University Alumni Office
    Attn: Jaclyn Cantwell
    1184 W. Main Street
    Decatur, IL 62522

At least one photo will be shared in each issue of MY Times and all others will be posted in our Millikin Alumni Facebook page. As an added benefit, you’ll be sure to meet fellow graduates while traveling; it will surprise you how many will recognize your Big Blue garb or memorabilia!

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