Millikin University - Decatur, IL
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A message from Interim President Patrick E. White

It is with deep sadness that I share with you the news of the death of a current Millikin student. Sophomore Amanda Puckett, 19, a music performance – instrumental student from Orland Hills, Ill., passed away unexpectedly this morning after being found unresponsive in her residence hall room at approximately 8:15 a.m. At this time, the cause of death is unknown. Read more and the August issue of Out of the Blue.

An initial memorial service will be held at 8 p.m. this evening in lower Richards Treat University Center on campus.

The University extends its deepest sympathy to Amanda’s family, friends and the entire Millikin community in this time of loss. We are devastated by this news. Millikin University is a close-knit family, and this impacts us all. 

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to utilize the campus resources available to aid in this time of grief. While University counselors have already begun meeting with those directly affected by this loss, all seeking additional support may access University Counseling Services offered through the Millikin-DMH Wellness Center on campus. If you call today, please contact them via the Office of Public Safety at 217-464-8888 and Monday at their usual number, 217-424-6360. 

An update from Millikin

Millikin psychology professor James St. James recently made national headlines, and our office felt it was important to update alumni and friends on the status of his employment. The university’s senior leadership learned of Dr. St. James’ history last month and has reaffirmed he will teach this fall as he has done the past 27 years. Many alumni and current students, especially those who had Dr. St. James as a professor, have voiced their strong support of this decision, while others have asked for his removal from the classroom. Read more and the August issue of Out of the Blue.


Millikin University stands by Dr. St. James in recognition of his record of educating Millikin students for 27 years. Given the traumatic experiences of his childhood, his efforts to rebuild his life and obtain a successful professional career are remarkable. After being found not guilty by reason of insanity, he complied with the court's ruling and received help for his mental health, after which he rebuilt his life. Dr. St. James has made a positive difference in the lives of hundreds of students since coming to Millikin in 1986.

Differing opinions about his future employment have been expressed, and we respect and understand that not all will support the university’s decision. We affirm that we remain, as always, steadfastly committed to ensuring our campus community is a safe and productive educational environment, always attentive first to what is in the best interest of great teaching and learning and to our shared imagination of Millikin at its best. We realize that we are a university, not a uniformity; we bring people together but do not demand everyone think alike. The Millikin family is a community of thinkers and leaders with strong voices and diverse views. We are a community of care and respect-- it is part of our excellence. Should you have questions or concerns, please call Deb Kirchner, senior director of communications, in the Alumni and Development Office at 217-424-6383 or send an email to

Gift of $1.6 million to support natural science programs.
Leighty-Tabor Science Center

Millikin has received a gift of more than $1.6 million in support of MU's natural science programs from a trust established in 1999 by the late John A. Leighty ’31. Pending approval by the MU board of trustees, the gift will provide ongoing financial support for essential research, instructional scientific instrumentation, a new endowed professorship in the natural sciences and mathematics division, and performance learning enhancement needs within the division’s departments.

During a 33-year career at Eli Lilly and Company, Dr. Leighty served on the team that first produced penicillin in the 1940s, and he was also involved in development and production of the antibiotics erythromycin and streptomycin and the analgesic Darvon. Dr. Leighty served on the Millikin University Board of Trustees from 1967 through 1970. He and his late wife, the former Ula Davis ’33, volunteered for and contributed to Millikin’s fundraising campaigns. Dr. and Mrs. Leighty were named recipients of the Alumnus of the Year Award in 1971 -- Millikin's highest honor. The Leighty name is permanently honored on campus through the Leighty-Tabor Science Center (right), an endowed scientific research fellowship and an endowed science scholarship program.

Gina Bianchi ’93 named senior director of alumni and donor engagement.
portrait of Gina Bianchi

Gina Bianchi, a 1993 Millikin graduate, has been named senior director of alumni and donor engagement for the alumni and development office, replacing long-time MU alumni relations director Jan Devore, who retired in late June.

Read the news release.

Speaking of Jan, an open house in her honor is just one highlight of this fall’s Homecoming.
portrait of Jan Devore

An open house in honor of the retirement of Jan Devore, longtime alumni relations director, is just one of the special activities to be held during Homecoming weekend, Oct. 4-6. Plan now to stop by the Alumni and Development Center at 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5, to wish her well in retirement! Other plans to honor Jan include efforts to name the student lobby in the planned new University Center after her. Learn more about this project. Learn more about this project.

See the complete list of Homecoming activities.

MU recognized in annual college rankings.

Millikin is one of only 25 Illinois colleges to make Forbes' national ranking of 650 academic institutions and is one of 155 institutions The Princeton Review recommends in its "Best in the Midwest" section of its website feature, "2014 Best Colleges: Region by Region," on

Read the news release.

First Step FastTrac course to start next month.

First Step FastTrac, an 11-week course on business ownership for new entrepreneurs, begins Sept. 5. It is offered by SCORE (Counselors to America's Small Business) Decatur Chapter No. 296 and MU’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

Read the news release for more information.

Don Shroyer Day to honor late, great football coach.
portrait of Don Shroyer

Millikin will honor the late Don Shroyer ’50 (left) and the achievements of his Big Blue teams at the first home MU football game on Sept. 7. Head football coach at Millikin from 1956-61, Shroyer led the 1961 team during the only undefeated season in MU football history. Shroyer died July 7.

For more info, contact Brandon Barney ’12 at 217-424-6383.

Transcripts available online for all MU alumni.

Need an official copy of your transcript? Alumni with a valid major credit card and an active email account can now order official PDF transcript copies through The cost is $7.75 per copy. Graduates from 1992 through 2013* can also order paper transcripts at $5 per copy. Just sign in to myMILLIKIN, click the “Alumni” tab, then “request a transcript.” Unfamiliar with myMILLIKIN? Learn how to access it here.

*If you graduated prior to 1992, your transcript may be available through myMILLIKIN, and you are welcome to use that portal. If your transcript is not available there, you can obtain a copy through

Big Blue All-Sport Pass now available.

Enjoy MU athletic action at an affordable price! The Big Blue All-Sport Pass includes admission to all home football, volleyball, and men's and women's basketball games. The cost is $65 each for adults and $45 each for senior citizens 60 and over. Individual sport season passes are also available for football, volleyball, soccer and basketball.

For info, visit the Big Blue Athletics page, or purchase your Big Blue All-Sport Pass online.

Alumni in the News

Calendar of Events
Contest: Arlo returns!
portrait of Arlo Guthrie

American folk music legend Arlo Guthrie (right) returns to Kirkland Fine Arts Center Friday, Oct. 11. Arlo’s last appearance on the Kirkland stage was in:

  1. 1996
  2. 1998
  3. 2003
  4. 2006

Send your best guess to, and be sure to include your name and address. Winners will be selected in a random drawing from all who respond correctly and each winner will receive a Millikin prize.

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