Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Press Releases
Millikin University hosted its seventh annual Edible Book Festival on April 14 in the Staley Library. The festival featured several culinary creations based on literary works including novels, biographies and more.

Millikin University held its first Edible Book Festival in 2009. Over the years, entries have come from Millikin University students, faculty, and staff, but have also been submitted by teams from Richland Community College, Garfield Montessori, Decatur Christian School, and Okaw Valley High School.

Entry fees and donations raised from the event are going to the Good Samaritan Inn of Decatur.

Click here to read an article from the Herald & Review that recaps Millikin University's Edible Book Festival.
Chad Pregracke, founder of Living Lands & Waters (LL&W), has dedicated his life to cleaning up and preserving our nation's rivers. He will discuss his journey on Monday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. in Shilling Hall's Albert Taylor Theatre on Millikin University's campus. This event is free and open to the public; no reservations or tickets required.

The Mississippi River was literally Chad Pregracke's backyard while growing up outside of Hampton, Ill. The son of educators and river enthusiasts, KeeKee and Gary Pregracke, Chad and his older brother, Brent, spent the majority of their time on, in, and around the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

During his summer breaks from high school and college, Pregracke worked on the river − primarily as a commercial shell diver for the cultured pearl industry, but also as a commercial fisherman and barge hand. It was during this time that Pregracke began to realize how neglected the rivers were, with the unsightly and toxic accumulation of trash along their banks. At the age of 17, he started making calls to government agencies to notify them of the problem, assuming someone would take care of it. Years passed by and the problem only worsened.

In 1998, Pregracke founded Living Lands & Waters, a not-for-profit organization based in East Moline, Ill. LL&W hosts river cleanups, watershed conservation initiatives, workshops, tree plantings and other key conservation efforts. Today, the organization has grown to include 13 full-time employees and an equipment base of four barges, two towboats, six workboats, five trucks, a semi, a crane and two skid loaders. With this equipment, the crew is able to travel and work in an average of seven states a year along the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, and Delaware Rivers, as well as many of their largest tributaries.

Since the project's inception, Pregracke, his crew, and nearly 70,000 volunteers have collected over 7.5 million pounds of debris from our nation's greatest rivers. Pregracke has also expanded the mission of the organization to include Big River Educational Workshops for teachers and students aboard a floating classroom, The MillionTrees Project, and the Adopt-a-River Mile programs.

Pregracke's vision, charisma, non-stop work ethic and natural leadership have garnered him an abundance of awards and honors over the years. Most notably, Pregracke was the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service in June 2002, recognized at the Points of Light Tribute in Washington, D.C. and chosen as the CNN Hero of the Year in December 2013.

For more information on Living Lands & Waters, visit

Pregracke's appearance is Millikin University's 2015 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."

Registration for Millikin University's Summer Immersion courses will begin on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. The catalog of Summer Immersion course offerings is currently available online at

Summer Immersion provides opportunities for students to earn credits during summer break and complete challenging courses with great topics. Summer Immersion is designed to fit the needs of current Millikin students, incoming freshmen, adult learners, students attending other universities, students wanting to take a summer online course and high school students wanting to gain credits in escrow.

For the 2015 summer, Millikin faculty have developed a variety of special learning opportunities available for all college students and area high school students. Adults not seeking to transfer college credits may enroll in most of the courses as "adult enrichment" students for $500.

The course offerings range from creative arts, biology field studies, driver's education, nursing, mathematics, culture studies and more.

In the creative arts, faculty have developed courses in printmaking, scriptwriting, haiku writing, opera and professional music recording. Summer professors have also developed several culture studies courses on Grimm's fairy tales, and several film courses on Ireland, World War II, Hollywood in the 1960s, Spielberg and "defeated cultures."

Millikin's summer courses are intimate and fast-paced. Each course has a small number of highly motivated students eager to immerse themselves in the questions and work.

Millikin University has significantly discounted tuition for its Summer Immersion 2015 courses. Individuals can register by fax at 217.420.6789, online at, or in person in the Registrar's Office, located in Gorin Hall, Room 16, on Millikin's campus.

Millikin University encourages students and adults to take advantage of Summer Immersion and develop new skills and concentrate on required courses. This unique opportunity can enable students to graduate early, improve grade point average or provide a great experience.

For more information, please call 217.424.6205 or visit online at

Millikin University will be hosting a number of events during March to celebrate Women's History Month. The theme for this year is "In Her Shoes: Stories of Women in our Community."

Women's History Month traces its beginning to the first International Women's Day in 1911. Congress passed a resolution recognizing Women's History Week in 1981, which was extended to an entire month in 1987 to recognize the diverse and historic accomplishments of women that have shaped events throughout history.

Events highlighting Millikin's celebration of Women's History Month include:

Wednesday, March 4
"In Her Shoes" Kick-Off Event
6 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center

Millikin faculty and staff will share stories of their favorite pair of shoes and how the shoes have been important to them over time. Audience members will be given a shoe to "redecorate" and have displayed throughout the month in display cases in Lower Richards Treat University Center. Shoes will then be auctioned off at the end of the month to raise proceeds for Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center.

Thursday, March 19
My Journey: Warden Shelith Hansbro
6 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center

Shelith Hansbro, warden of the Decatur Correctional Center, will share her story of becoming warden and various experiences throughout her life.

Saturday, March 28
Sigma Lambda Gamma: Bras for a Cause
4 – 7 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center

Come and decorate a bra in honor of various women who have been affected by Breast Cancer.

Monday, March 30
"The Vagina Monologues" by Eve Ensler
7 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center

Watch this dynamic and funny performance by Millikin students, faculty and staff. The event will raise awareness of "women issues," domestic violence, relationships and accounts of coming of age. The event will include a silent auction with all proceeds going to support Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center.

For more information on Millikin's celebration of Women's History Month, contact Millikin University's Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement at 217.424.6335 or by e-mail at

Millikin University's Kirkland Fine Arts Center is pleased to welcome one of America's most successful stand-up comedians Gabriel Iglesias on Thursday, March 5, 2015, at 8 p.m. The performance is Millikin University's 2015 Goodheart Event.

Born in Chula Vista, Calif., Gabriel Iglesias is the youngest of six children, raised by a single mother. It was during his childhood that he developed a strong sense of humor to deal with the obstacles he faced. In 1997, he set out to hone his comedic skills and performed stand-up anywhere he could find an audience. He never could have foreseen the incredible success he has experienced.

Today, Iglesias performs in sold-out concerts across the United States and internationally. His stand-up comedy is a mixture of storytelling, parodies, characters and sound effects that bring his personal experiences to life. His unique and animated comedy style has made him popular among fans of all ages.

On July 25, 2014, Iglesias's highly anticipated stand-up comedy film, "The Fluffy Movie" (Open Road Films) hit theaters. Following the release of "The Fluffy Movie," Gabriel appeared in 20th Century Fox's animated film "The Book of Life" alongside Zoe Saldana and Channing Tatum. In the Fall of 2014, Comedy Central aired season 3 of Gabriel's hit series "Stand-Up Revolution," which featured comedians that he personally selected.

Gabriel began production on the highly anticipated sequel to the box office hit "Magic Mike," reprising his role as Tobias with Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum. "Magic Mike XXL" will be released July 3, 2015.

Comedy Central premiered "Gabriel Iglesias: Aloha Fluffy" in an unprecedented two-night comedy special to over 15 million viewers. This was a great follow-up to his previous DVD specials, "Hot & Fluffy" and "I'm Not Fat...I'm Fluffy," which has sold a combined total of 2 million copies.

Gabriel has recently appeared in "A Haunted House 2" and hit animated films "The Nut Job" and Disney's "Planes." Gabriel was nominated for an ALMA Award; Favorite TV Reality, Variety, or Comedy Personality or Act and was top billed at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festivals in Montreal and Toronto.

Gabriel has also appeared on "The Arsenio Hall Show," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Conan," "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," "Steve Harvey," "Good Morning America," Cartoon Network's "The Annoying Orange" and FOX TV's "The Family Guy."

The Goodheart Event was created through a gift from Peggy and the late G. William Madden of Decatur in memory of Mrs. Madden's father, the late William R. Goodheart Jr., who founded the Music Corporation of America (MCA) in the 1920s. The gift provides endowment for the William R. Goodheart Fund. The Fund's income is used biennially for a William R. Goodheart Annual Entertainment Event held at Kirkland Fine Arts Center.

Each Goodheart Event features a live concert or performance and is free to Millikin students and staff. Former performers include Jay Leno, Howie Mandel, Tap Dogs, STOMP, David Spade, Wayne Brady, Mo'Nique, and Seth Meyers.

Tickets will go on sale to the public Monday, Feb. 9 at $25 per ticket. Tickets can be purchased through the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Ticket Office, by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at Ticket Office hours are Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and Ticket Office orders.

For more information on Kirkland Fine Arts Center, please visit
Millikin University is pleased to announce its celebration of Black History Month. The theme for 2015 is "Celebrating Black Excellence."

Black History Month originated in 1926 when historian Carter G. Woodson promoted what was known as "Negro History Week" in an effort to educate people about the accomplishments of African-Americans. In 1976, the celebration was expanded to include the entire month of February, the birth month of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass. Black History Month is celebrated to remember important individuals and events in African-American history.

Millikin University's annual celebration of Black History Month involves a number of events that honor the history and heritage of African-Americans. Millikin's celebration of Black History Month includes the following events.

Thursday, Feb. 5

UCB at the Movies for Black History Month
6 p.m., starting at the Arrival Court

Join UCB at Hickory Point Carmike Cinema for the showing of "Selma" starting at 6:30 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 9

Vote for Blacks!
12 noon – 2 p.m., Wornick Dining Hall, Richards Treat University Center

Guests can take the "literacy test" that African-Americans were forced to take in Louisiana in the 1960s if they wanted a chance to vote.

Tuesday, Feb. 10

The Cooptation of the N-Word, Guest Speaker: Bryant Smith
5 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center

Bryant Smith is the founder and owner of Smith Consulting and Networking, which is a comprehensive training, development, and consulting firm dedicated to creating "safe and empowering learning climates" for all people. He is an expert on identifying, cultivating, and maximizing human potential. Bryant travels the country as an author and inspirational speaker, but more importantly, he makes a difference in the lives of young people every day through his work, volunteerism and philanthropy.

Tuesday, Feb. 17

Celebrating Black Excellence Throughout History
5 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center

Partnering with Dennis Lab School, the event will feature monologues from Dennis fifth grade students on a profound person in history.

Sunday, Feb. 22

"Our Experience"– Reflections from Students
3 p.m., Pilling Chapel, Millikin campus

Reflecting on the past year, and all of the racial tension present in the news and in passing life, students will share their reflections on their experiences as college students. The event will feature music performances, poetry, and readings.

Thursday, Feb. 26

"The Slave Trade in Africa and the colonization of the African State"
Guest Speaker: Kwabena Tandoh

6 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center

Kwabena Tandoh is the founder of GATE Consultancy and serves as president and chief executive officer. He is also the lead consultant on the Goodwin College Ghana project where he serves as executive director. Tandoh's lecture will focus on Africa as seen through the eyes of Western media.

For more information on Millikin's celebration of Black History Month, please contact the Millikin Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement at 217.424.6335 or by e-mail at

The City of Decatur's Historic and Architectural Site Commission awarded the "Landscape and Streetscape Award" to the Dennis-Millikin Laboratory School’s Community Garden Project. The award was presented during a City Council Meeting on Jan. 20 at the Decatur Civic Center. The award recognizes the vast improvement of the use of the land.

The Dennis-Millikin Laboratory School's Community Garden Project is a reflection of a successful ongoing partnership between Dennis School and Millikin University. The partnership, now in its fourth year, is designed to create a university-affiliated lab school that enhances the 21st century project-based, real-world learning for Dennis students and provide increased teacher training opportunities for Millikin education students.

Located slightly south of the northwest corner of the Wood Street and Fairview Avenue intersection, the Community Garden Project specifically demonstrates how project-based education can help revitalize the neighboring community and increase parental involvement in learning.

"The Garden Project has made a very positive impact on the West End community, and has potential to be a model elsewhere in the wider Decatur community," said Dr. Nan Gaylen, director of Millikin University's School of Education. "The Garden Project is such a visible example of how Dennis School's project-based Learning and Millikin University's Performance Learning come together to create real and tangible change."

Matt Andrews, principal at Dennis Lab School, says the Dennis Lab Learning Garden "has proved to be an excellent resource for the students. It has allowed our students access to an outdoor classroom where they are able to learn through a hands-on approach. Our students and teachers really enjoy the Millikin partnership and being able to learn from Millikin's experts. One thing that makes me proud is the overwhelming support of the Dennis Lab Learning Garden from the community."

A large portion of funding to support the Community Garden Project for the last two years has come from the PNC Foundation. The foundation provided a $20,000 grant in June 2013 to help expand the Garden into an exciting and engaging educational opportunity for families and community partners.

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture.

"The impact the garden has on the students is that it provides an alternative sight to teach," said Sue Ellen Phillips, a fourth-grade teacher at Dennis. "It is hands-on learning and real-life observation. The students love to learn outside and experience nature. It is a wonderful place to learn."

Dr. Gaylen added, "The Garden Project teaches all of us how a vision and a goal can become a beneficial asset to all community members."

To view images of the Community Garden Project, visit

Lindsey Pollak, one of the world's leading experts on training, managing and marketing to the Millennial generation, will present "2020 Vision: Trends Shaping the Future of Work" on Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. in Kirkland Fine Arts Center on the Millikin campus. This event, the 2015 Thomas W. Ewing Lectureship, is free and open to the public.

Pollak is recognized as one of the top experts on Millennials at work. She's the author of two celebrated books, "Getting from College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World" and the New York Times best-seller "Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders." She serves as an official LinkedIn Ambassador, spokesperson for The Hartford, and chairwoman of Cosmopolitan magazine's Millennial Advisory Board.

Pollak's corporate consulting and keynote speaking clients total more than 150 corporations, conferences and universities, including Barclays, Citi, GE, IBM, PwC, Ralph Lauren, Time Inc., Yale, Harvard, Princeton and MIT. Her areas of expertise include marketing to Millennials, managing Millennials, succeeding in the multigenerational workplace, personal branding and career development.

Pollak's advice and opinions have appeared in media outlets such as The Today Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, FOX Business, Glamour, CNN and NPR. She appears on several lists of "Best People to Follow on Twitter," including Mashable's list of top non-fiction authors. Forbes named her blog one of the "Top 100 Websites for Your Career."

Pollak serves as chairwoman of the board of She's the First, a nonprofit organization that sponsors girls' education in developing countries so they can be first in their families to graduate from high school.

The Thomas W. Ewing Lectureship was created by Millikin University and Congressman Ewing's colleagues in recognition of his many years of public service. Ewing, a 1957 Millikin graduate, retired in 2001 after serving nine years in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 15th District of Illinois. Ewing served 17 years in the Illinois House of Representatives, where he was assistant Republican leader from 1982-1990 and was named deputy minority leader in 1990.

Previous speakers have included Robert F. Kennedy Jr., environmental advocate; Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert; Peter Hoekstra, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; and former congressmen Jack Buechner (R-Mo.) and William Robert Roy (D-Kansas). The lectures focus on public policy and service, and visiting lecturers are selected based on their prominence in those fields as well as their ability to inspire others to serve.

Dr. Michael Burlingame, holder of the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, will present "What New Can Be Said about Abraham Lincoln?" at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 5, in Kaeuper Hall, Perkinson Music Center, on Millikin's campus. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations required.

Dr. Burlingame is an internationally renowned scholar who has published 12 books on the life and times of Abraham Lincoln. His work, "Abraham Lincoln: A Life," is a two-volume biography that was 25 years in the making. The book won the 2010 Lincoln Prize, sponsored by the Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History and Gettysburg College, for the finest scholarly work in English on Abraham Lincoln.

Dr. Burlingame's most recent books include "A Day Long to be Remembered: Lincoln in Gettysburg" (2013), "Lincoln and the Civil War" (2011), and "Abraham Lincoln Traveled This Way: The America Lincoln Knew" (2011). He is currently working on a book about Lincoln's emotional life, a volume in the Concise Lincoln Library published by the Southern Illinois University Press.

Dr. Burlingame was born in Washington, D.C. and attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. As a freshman at Princeton University, he took the Civil War course taught by the eminent Lincolnian David Herbert Donald, who took him under his wing and made him a research assistant. When Professor Donald moved on to Johns Hopkins University, Burlingame upon graduation from Princeton, followed him to that institution. There he received his Ph.D. In 1968 he joined the History Department at Connecticut College where he taught until retiring in 2001 as the May Buckley Sadowski Professor of History Emeritus. He joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2009.

Dr. Burlingame has also edited several volumes of Lincoln primary source materials including "An Oral History of Abraham Lincoln: John G. Nicolay's Interviews and Essays," (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996); "Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay" (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1997) co-edited with John R. Turner Ettlinger; "Lincoln Observed: Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks" (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), and many more.

Dr. Burlingame has received the Abraham Lincoln Association Book Prize (1996), the Lincoln Diploma of Honor from Lincoln Memorial University (1998), Honorable Mention for the Lincoln Prize, Gettysburg College (2001), and was inducted into the Lincoln Academy of Illinois in 2009.

Dr. Burlingame's presentation is the 2015 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.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has named Millikin University to the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in the General Community Service category. The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll honors the nation's leading higher education institutions and their students, faculty and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through service.

The Honor Roll is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service's strategic commitment to engage millions of college students in service and celebrate the critical role of higher education in strengthening communities.

"Millikin University has long been committed to community service as an essential component of our educational mission," said Millikin University President Dr. Patrick E. White. "As our mission states, Millikin students, faculty, staff, and alumni are committed to performing democratic citizenship in a global environment and acting out lives of meaning and value. Millikin is proud to be named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll."

More than 760 higher education institutions were named to the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. CNCS has administered the award since 2006 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education, Campus Compact, and the Interfaith Youth Core.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, Millikin students engaged in 148,416 hours of service to the community, this includes service from curricular and co-curricular programs. Millikin was recognized for the following initiatives.

This past academic year, approximately 500 Millikin first-year students completed a variety of service projects, beginning with participation in the local United Way's Day of Action during Millikin's First Week program.

Many classes developed a semester project that related to a course topic and collaborated with a community partner. Projects included: tutoring at after school programs and in elementary schools, working with seniors in nursing homes, a theatre production for kindergarten students, serving the Illinois Raptor Center, participating in the Decatur Community Food Drive, increasing the adoptability of dogs at an animal shelter, and many more.

One of the standout service-learning projects this past year was with Dennis Elementary School, a Decatur Public School near Millikin's campus which is now a Millikin Lab School. Millikin provided land to help the school start an organic garden. The "learning garden" has become a great opportunity for Millikin students to work alongside students in grades K-6 to make the garden a success.

Numerous Millikin traditions and events include service components such as Homecoming, Greek Week, and Fall Family Weekend. Service components are also included in Millikin's residential learning communities where students participate in at least 10 hours of service a semester. Millikin's athletic teams also volunteer in the Decatur community, primarily working with Special Olympics and the Good Samaritan Inn soup kitchen, and also serving in other ways that meet community needs.

President White added, "This recognition affirms what we long have performed. Millikin faculty, staff, alumni and students are committed to serving the Decatur and Macon County community, the vitality of which depends on imagination, service, and hard work by all of us."

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. Through the agency's Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Matching Program, CNCS gives education institutions access to tens of thousands of AmeriCorps alumni with millions of dollars in Segal Education Awards for tuition and fees.

For more information, visit
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL