Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Press Releases
Millikin University's Bronze Man Books is pleased to announce the publication of their newest poetry chapbook, "The Dust We Cherish" by Amanda L. Hamilton '14.

The book's subtitle gives insight into what lies within: "A collection of poems about transition, isolation and almost communicating." Hamilton speaks of her home in central Illinois as inspiration for her writing, recalling rural landscapes alongside dream-like images.

Hamilton graduated from Millikin University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in English and music. This is her first publication.

Former Millikin professor Katie Schmid Henson notes in the book's introduction that, "The speaker of these poems is mistrustful of language; aware that words are often a site of confusion or even worse, betrayal." Hamilton takes the reader on a journey through transitions and resulting tumultuous emotions. Schmid Henson goes on to say that, "The impulse to both revel in a thing and question its pull runs throughout the chapbook – wrestling with an idea leads to understanding and celebration, and this wrestling is the great power of this collection."

Student editor for "The Dust We Cherish," Brittany Mytnik, a senior English writing major from Plainfield, Ill., says, "Bronze Man Books has paired beautiful photographs, edited to resemble pencil drawings, with the poetry. The result is a stunning and engaging reading experience."

"The Dust We Cherish" will be released on Thursday, March 26, 2015. Community members are invited to attend a release party on March 26 at 7 p.m. in Pilling Chapel on Millikin's campus. Snacks and beverages will be provided, and author Amanda Hamilton will read passages from the book. Audience members will be encouraged to participate in a question and answer session following the reading. Copies of the chapbook will also be available for purchase.

The chapbook will be available on the Bronze Man Books online catalog, found at

Bronze Man Books is a student-owned and operated press that was established in spring 2006. It is located on Millikin University's campus in Decatur, Ill.

Millikin University students have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in a professional environment working as an intern with the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce.

Millikin alumni Chris Olsen '74, and his wife, Deborah Olsen '74, along with Beth Bolz Vincent and Jane Olsen Black have created the Henry H. Bolz Endowed Internship program. The endowment honors the memory of their grandfather, the late Henry H. Bolz, who, for more than 30 years, was the executive director of the Decatur Association of Commerce and Industry and its subsequent iteration, the Metro Decatur Chamber of Commerce. The endowed internship program is a first for Millikin University and the Tabor School of Business.

Chris Olsen is currently vice president of community and government affairs for Tate & Lyle in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Olsen is responsible for federal, state, and local government relations as well as community and media relations for all Tate & Lyle facilities in the United States.

"This internship supports two parts of Decatur that have been very important to the Bolz and Olsen families for a long time: Millikin University and the Chamber of Commerce," said Olsen. "Both of these organizations have made great contributions to Decatur's success, and we hope this internship provides the opportunity for students to support their own development as well as making a contribution to the future success of the community."

During the internship, students will obtain hands-on, meaningful work experience designed to meet academic and career goals. The internship offers Millikin Tabor School of Business, communication or political science students responsibilities such as research, writing, survey, database management, web page maintenance, communications and event preparation. Students will be able to network with colleagues and senior-level executives while participating in educational and professional activities designed to enhance the internship experience.

"The Bolz Endowed Internship will enable Millikin students to learn and practice first-hand advocacy for growth and development in Decatur and Macon County," said Millikin University President Dr. Patrick E. White. "We are grateful for this inspiring gift that empowers Millikin students to engage in service of our community while practicing Performance Learning, one more sign of Millikin's role as Decatur's university." 

The Henry H. Bolz Internship will be held during the spring semester of the academic year, starting in January and ending in May. To qualify for the internship, students must be a junior or senior and have a minimum 3.5 overall grade point average. The first recipient of the Henry H. Bolz Internship is Molly Yablon, a junior business management major from Skokie, Ill.

The Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce was chartered on July 3, 1903, and is recognized as the second oldest Chamber of Commerce in the state of Illinois. The Chamber's mission is to be a pro-business network providing service, political advocacy and leadership to strengthen education, community image and local businesses.

Tabor School of Business

With the Millikin student in mind, the Tabor School of Business has reviewed, rethought and redesigned its business offerings. All students can now customize their educational experience by taking advantage of academic certificates or by enrolling in the new Fast-Track MBA program, which can be completed in 12 months. To learn more about the changes taking place at the Tabor School of business, visit

"We at the Tabor School of Business are excited and grateful that the Henry H. Bolz Internship supports the newly designed Tabor undergraduate program," said Dr. Susan Kruml, dean of the Tabor School of Business. "The new program is focused directly on skills, competencies and attitudes new graduates need to compete and succeed. Performing for and with third-party stakeholders is a hallmark of the program."

For further information about the Henry H. Bolz Endowed Internship, please contact Marianne Taylor, internship & MBA program coordinator at the Tabor School of Business, at 217.424.3503 or by email at

More than 100 alumni and friends joined representatives of Millikin University and Caterpillar Inc. at an event held Nov. 18, 2014, at the Caterpillar Visitors Center in Peoria, Ill. The featured speaker, Doug Oberhelman, a 1975 Millikin graduate, is Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc., and the event was sponsored by Millikin alumnus LeRoy Hagenbuch, class of 1965.

At the event, Oberhelman credited his Millikin experience with helping to lay the foundation for his successful career.

"Millikin University was the perfect place for me to prepare for my career. I had great professors who instilled in me the confidence to succeed, and the campus environment was rich with opportunities that helped me grow professionally and personally," Oberhelman said. "I know Millikin is that same great place for students today, as it was for me then."

Millikin graduate Jake Manzella from Monticello, Ill., echoed Oberhelman's enthusiasm for the preparation afforded by a Millikin degree, speaking from his personal experience. Manzella completed two internships with Caterpillar during his time as a Millikin student, and graduated in December. He began working for the company full time in January.

In describing the university's commitment to its unique Performance Learning approach that demands students enact the skills, attitudes, and confidence to succeed early in their college years, Millikin President Patrick White noted: "We are doing exactly what so many in our society say higher education should be doing: helping students not only to get jobs but to be prepared to continue to grow in those jobs."

Oberhelman also expressed his confidence in President White's leadership of the university, noting, "I've become acquainted with President Patrick White since he came to Millikin, and it's clear the university is in very good hands under his leadership. I look forward to the great strides Millikin, its students and alumni will continue to make in the years ahead with President White at the helm. All alumni can take pride in knowing that the university is positioned for even greater success in the future."

Millikin University is asking alumni and friends of the university to be "UN-selfie" on Dec. 2, "Giving Tuesday," by giving to Millikin in honor or in memory of an MU professor, administrator, classmate or other individual who positively impacted their lives or the lives of others. All donations will help support student scholarships for deserving MU students.

"Giving Tuesday is a global movement encouraging all of us to 'be UN-selfie' and give back in some way during the holiday season," says Senior Director of Development Mandi Podeschi. "We have two days for getting deals – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now, we have Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to giving back. What better time to make a gift to Millikin in honor or in memory of an MU professor, coach or staff member? It might be the perfect way to honor that special someone in your life during the holiday season."

According to Podeschi, Millikin will share the names of those who have given with those who are being honored, or with a family member if the person has passed – unless the donor asks to remain anonymous. Certificates are also available for those who wish to personally present them to those honored.

Several alumni and friends of the university have already made gifts in honor of individuals, including Alan Buttimer, a 1998 graduate.

"[I'm honoring] Dr. Richard E. Ferry, professor emeritus of education," Buttimer says. "Dr. Ferry instilled a sense of purpose in his students. While it was his responsibility to ensure that as future educators we knew how to teach, it was his personal approach that always reminded us we would be teaching not just skills and content that were part of a curriculum, but real children."

Those who have made gifts are encouraged to help spread the word about Giving Tuesday on their social media accounts by posting an "UN-selfie" photo of themselves along with a post about who they have honored with their gift to MU. Recommended hashtags are #GivingTuesday, #unselfie and #giveMU.

"Our goal for the day is to have at least 250 alumni and friends be part of this global celebration of a new tradition of generosity," Podeschi says. "Most importantly, though, we seek to ensure the growth of our student scholarship fund to help deserving students fulfill their dream of a Millikin education." Currently, 98 percent of all Millikin students receive some type of financial aid to attend the university.

To learn more and to make an online credit card gift, visit Those with questions should call Millikin's Alumni & Development Office at 217.424.6383 or 1.877.JMU.ALUM (568.2586).
Millikin University welcomes alumna and New York Times Bestselling Author Sarah Burleton '05 back to campus for a speaking engagement on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The presentation, free and open to the public, will take place in Lower Richards Treat University Center on Millikin's campus.

Sarah Burleton currently speaks out for children who are trapped in the family secret of abuse as well as adults that grew up in that environment.

Written in 2010, Burleton's first book "Why Me?" is an eye-opening account into the hidden world of child abuse. "Why Me?" spent an astounding 26 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller E-book Non-Fiction list, two weeks on the USA Today Bestseller list, and debuted at No. 9 on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller list.

Burleton made history as the first self-published non-fiction e-book author to ever make the New York Times Bestseller list.

Burleton has since written two other e-books, "What It Is," in 2011 about coping with child abuse as an adult and "Anorexic Annie" in 2012 about her struggle with an eating disorder.

David Pelzer, New York Times Bestselling author says, "It is my hope that Sarah's message of strength over adversity will inspire others to achieve greatness as well."

In a bid to spread the message of child abuse prevention, Burleton has partnered with Prevent Child Abuse Illinois and travels the state giving speeches and conducting workshops. Burleton also volunteers at the Macon County Child Advocacy Center.

As part of her presentation on Nov. 12, Burleton will discuss her childhood abuse; share with educators and others on how to be aware of signs of abuse and what to do about it; why she decided to write a book, her process for self-publishing and how she earned a spot on the New York Times Bestseller's list; and what she has been working on lately.

A Q&A session will be held following her presentation as well as a book signing, and a closing ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Due to the serious nature of her topic, Burleton recommends audiences for her presentation to be adults 18 years and older.

Burleton's appearance was made possible by a collaborative effort of Millikin University's School of Education, PACE Office, and Alumni and Development Office.

Donations to the Millikin Fund reached an all-time high during the fiscal year which ended June 30 at Millikin University. With a total of $2,683,000 in cash donations and $2.782 million in total commitments, support for the Millikin Fund surpassed the previous record of $2.525 million set in 2009.

Each year, nearly $30 million of the university's annual budget is earmarked to provide merit and other scholarships to deserving students, and the university's annual fund — The Millikin Fund — helps meet this critical need. The university depends on the support of alumni, friends, faculty and staff members to help fund these scholarships, ensuring that many students, who might otherwise be unable to do so, can attain the dream of a college education. 

“This record-breaking support demonstrates a commitment to the mission of this university and our students that is truly inspiring," said Millikin President Patrick White. "My heart is full of Big Blue pride at the way the Millikin community far and wide has supported this effort to make a positive difference in the lives of our students."

Efforts to spur giving during the year included a two-day $200,000 challenge in May, with an anonymous donor pledging to match each gift, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000, to raise money for student scholarships. During the challenge, an intentionally corny "blue cheese" video was released each time a donor goal was met. The goal was met on time, and gifts continued to roll in even after the challenge, with 493 donors giving a total of $257,818. (Watch all 20 videos at 

Today, one more "blue cheese" video was released to alumni and friends of the university to offer thanks for the record-breaking year, and as White says, to make it clear that "Illinois farmers apparently aren't the only ones who can raise some corn." That video, featuring White and MU Trustee Emeritus Steve Huss, shows the two in a plane circling campus in a light-hearted aerial thank you to donors. View it at President White also adds, "Through good humor and creativity, we communicate the thrilling news of a new record, our great gratitude, and the high hopes we all feel now for MU." 

Millikin's new fiscal year began July 1, and fundraising efforts are already underway to reach a new record for the 2014-15 Millikin Fund at For more information, call MU's Alumni and Development Office at 217.424.6383.
Millikin University graduate Emma Prendergast '14 of New Lenox, Ill., has been awarded a Fellowship worth $5,000 by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.

Prendergast earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Millikin this past May and will continue her studies in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Prendergast is among 57 students nationwide to receive a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship. Since its creation in 1932, the Fellowship Program has become one of the Society's most visible and financially well-supported endeavors, allocating $345,000 annually to deserving students for first-year graduate or professional study. Currently, 51 Fellowships of $5,000 and six of $15,000 are awarded each year.

The selection process for the Phi Kappa Phi Fellowships is based on the applicants' evidence of graduate potential, undergraduate academic achievement, service and leadership experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement of educational perspective and career goals, and acceptance at an approved graduate or professional program.

More about Phi Kappa Phi

Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Phi Kappa Phi inducts annually approximately 32,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni. The Society has chapters on more than 300 select colleges and universities in North America and the Philippines. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify. The Society's mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others."

For more information, visit

Millikin University alumnus Brian Taylor '86 returned to campus on May 1 to share his success story with undergraduates in Millikin's Tabor School of Business. Taylor also received Millikin's first Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award on May 1 during an evening ceremony held at the Country Club of Decatur.

Taylor was recognized for exemplifying the best in entrepreneurship thought and action as the founder and chief executive officer of Pine River Capital Management in Minnetonka, Minn.

"I enjoyed the experience of attending Millikin, and I ended up studying what I found most interesting which was math and accounting," said Taylor as he was addressing Millikin business undergrads. "When it comes to business it's about being a leader, and in the end you have to have a lot of conviction in yourself, drive, and willingness to work hard. My business credo has always been to be honest with yourself and others, work hard, and do your best in making good decisions."

Taylor founded Pine River Capital Management in 2002, believing that a new institution could thrive if it embraces strong core values and a drive to constantly improve. As chief executive officer, Brian is responsible for management of the business and oversight of the funds. He is the chairman of Pine River's Executive Committee and Operating Committee, and serves on the firm's Compliance, Risk Management, Terms, and Hiring Committees. Brian is also the chairman of Two Harbors Investment Corp. and Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp.

"We have about 450 people at the company and eight offices around the world," said Taylor. "The important thing to me is that we never lose our entrepreneurial spirit and that we are always driven to do better, which is our company's theme. It's also important to be fundamentally driven and to remember that value generally wins over time."

Prior to Pine River's inception, Brian began his career at EBF & Associates in 1988 as a trader, becoming head of the convertible arbitrage group in 1994, and was named a partner in 1997 prior to his departure in 2002. His responsibilities included portfolio management, marketing, product development, and trading information systems development. He received a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance and a specialization in statistics from the University of Chicago in 1988. He earned his bachelor's degree in accounting with a minor in mathematics summa cum laude from Millikin University in 1986. 

"Do what you enjoy," said Taylor. "Start to find companies that are interesting to you and there will be opportunities wherever you look."

Millikin's Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award recognizes and celebrates the entrepreneurship achievements of one of its most distinguished alumni.

Sharon Alpi, director of Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship says, "What's really significant about Brian's visit is that he interacts with the students and helps share his story because that's what the students are aspiring to become in the professional world."

When asked about what he looks for in hiring an employee, Taylor says, "We want people that are going to be a good cultural fit. It's important to me to find people that will work hard, be intellectually honest, and be down to earth."

Fred Haise, Apollo 13 astronaut and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, will present "Failure is Not an Option" at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 22, in Kirkland Fine Arts Center on Millikin's campus. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations required.

Although best known as a crew member on the ill-fated Apollo 13 lunar mission, Haise began his 20-year NASA career as an aeronautical research pilot, serving on the backup crew for the Apollo 8, 11 and 16 missions. In 1973, while working as a pilot on the set of the Pearl Harbor movie, "Tora! Tora! Tora!," Haise was severely burned in a plane crash. After 14 months of recovery and rehabilitation, he regained flight status, and in 1977, he served as commander of the space shuttle Enterprise for the approach and landing program at Edwards Air Force Base. Over his 25 years in the service and with NASA, Haise logged 9,100 hours of flying time in more than 80 types of aircraft. Haise left NASA in 1979 to become a test pilot and executive with Grumman Aerospace Corporation. In 1996, he retired as president of Northrop Grumman Technical Services (GTS).

Haise was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1970 by President Richard Nixon. His other honors include the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Haley Astronautics Award, the General Thomas D. White Space Trophy, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Award, the NASA Special Achievement Award and induction into the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Haise's presentation is the 2014 T.W. Samuels Lecture. The T.W. Samuels Lecture Series was created in 1977 in honor of attorney T.W. Samuels, senior partner in the Decatur law firm of Samuels, Miller, Schroeder, Jackson and Sly. Samuels was active in Decatur community affairs until his death in 1989 at age 103. Samuels' sons, William J. Samuels of Menlo Park, Calif., and the late Dr. Thomas W. Samuels Jr., created an endowment fund to finance the series in recognition of their father. The endowment is used to bring great thinkers and speakers to Millikin for the purpose of community enrichment.

Derreck Kayongo will discuss his journey from child refugee to international humanitarian relief champion on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in Shilling Hall's Albert Taylor Theatre on the Millikin University campus. This event is free and open to the public; no reservations or tickets required.

After fleeing war-ravaged Uganda more than 30 years ago, Kayongo and his parents settled for a time in Kenya. While visiting Kenyan refugee camps, the young Kayongo observed friends and family struggling to survive without basic necessities. Their struggles would help shape the humanitarian relief missions Kayongo would undertake as an adult.

In 2009, Kayongo and his wife, Sarah, started The Global Soap Project, which focuses on repurposing partially-used soap from hotels into new, sanitized soap for needy populations, particularly in Africa. The Global Soap Project currently produces 30,000 bars of soap per week and so far, has donated more than 500,000 bars of soap to over 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Swaziland, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Haiti and Malawi. In 2013, The Global Soap Project earned an endorsement from the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Since his arrival in the U.S. in the 1990s, Kayongo has earned a college degree, become a naturalized citizen and served in leadership roles in some of the world's most respected humanitarian aid organizations, including Amnesty International and CARE International. He is also a regular columnist with The Huffington Post. A recipient of the Maxx Entrepreneurship Award and the Refugee Services Award, Kayongo was also named a 2011 CNN Hero, recognized as one of 24 "everyday people changing the world."

Kayongo's appearance is Millikin's 2014 James W. Moore Lecture. The lecture was established in 1991 to honor the late James W. Moore of Decatur. Moore's children, Madeline and James "Mac" Moore, created the endowed fund to present speakers on campus who represent "innovative or progressive political or artistic views."
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL