Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Press Releases
"How do we value the undervalued?" That was the general theme of this year's SMASH Camp, a collaborative venture between Decatur Public School District #61 (DPS) and Millikin University, held this past June.

The four-week program provided an educational platform for middle school students to focus on learning the elements of entrepreneurship.

"SMASH Camp is tied to Millikin's School of Education and Center for Entrepreneurship to help bring entrepreneurship education to middle schools," said Dr. Christie Magoulias, Millikin associate professor of education. "The theme for this year's camp was developed from the idea of repurposing rather than just recycling."

Throughout the camp, teams of students designed, manufactured and marketed products that were created from recycled, upcycled or repurposed items. The students sold their final products online. Millikin students, faculty and DPS teachers led the camp experience for 40 students.

"The students looked at items that were not being used and they reused them to create the products," said Dr. Magoulias. "We focused on examples of items that traditionally go into landfills and could be used in different ways."

The designed products included chairs converted from old tires, a desk made from an organ, a lounge chair on wheels made from pallets, wall art made from paper towel and toilet paper tubes and candles made from broken crayons.

The products sold for a total of $350 and the profits were divided evenly among the students; each receiving a $10 gift card.

Millikin first-year student and camp counselor Marrissa Drake, from Decatur, Ill., enjoyed the experience of working with the middle school students. "It was fun because the students wanted to go out and build products. The students wanted to go out in the community and get involved with activities. It was great that we could make connections with the school district."

Beginning in 2012, SMASH Camp was created to engage a high-potential group of Decatur Public School students, and to promote inquiry-based learning approaches for both students and adults.

In previous years, the camp offered hands-on learning experiences through various sectors including: energy, health, arts, food science and media.

Counselor Kamie Meador noted, "SMASH Camp has definitely evolved over the last couple of years. I've been involved with different versions of the camp and this year's camp provided a different mind-shift. Students entered camp not knowing what they would engage in, and in my opinion, that's when the best learning takes place."

Meador added, "It's a great example of what true education looks like. We saw students in manufacturing sessions learning skills that they never had before and then combine those skills with things such as marketing. It was a powerful journey."

Brandi Marks, a sophomore secondary teaching major at Millikin, from Richton Park, Ill., said, "Getting involved with the camp was great because it's something I eventually want to do with my career. The students did everything themselves and our job was to make sure they had the resources to do it. The students took so much pride in their work."

Millikin University held a dedication ceremony for its renovated arrival court and newly developed fountain on July 1.

Custom Hardscapes, a division of Decatur-based Custom Landscapes Inc., a company that specializes in landscape design, construction and maintenance, was selected to work on the renovations. The project began on May 18 and was completed on June 26.

"The complete redesign and the fountain continue to make the arrival court a beautiful gathering place for the Millikin community," said Millikin President Dr. Patrick White. "It's also a point of welcome to new students, families and the many guests who come to visit Millikin's campus."

The redesigned arrival court, located in front of Richards Treat University Center, covers approximately 10,000 square feet. The redesign features a permeable paving system which directs water from the drainage area into the ground instead of sending it over the northwest corner of the arrival court.

The surrounding area at the center of the arrival court features LED lighting underneath the seating. LED lights are also displayed on the fountain.

"It's an area where the interactions and conversations that are at the heart of Millikin's Performance Learning will happen," noted Dr. White. "We have a place where students can come from residence halls, apartments and other places across campus to reconvene."

The project was funded in part by donations and gifts from the Millikin Senior Class of 2015. The Senior Class Committee sold T-shirts, diploma frames and hosted events to help raise funds for the fountain.

A plaque recognizing the Senior Class of 2015 will be added to the fountain later this summer.

"The students saw the fountain as a perfect class gift because it will last a long time," said Dr. White. "The arrival court will be another place where Performance Learning, which we treasure so much at Millikin, will take place."

Click here to read more about the dedication ceremony in an article from the Herald & Review.

Millikin University presented bachelor's degrees to graduates during its 111th Commencement ceremony on May 17 at the Decatur Civic Center.

Graduates on May 17 represented Millikin University's College of Arts & Sciences, Fine Arts, Professional Studies and Tabor School of Business.

Millikin's 2015 Commencement speaker was Kenneth L. Smithmier, president and chief executive officer of Illinois Health and Science (IHS). Smithmier's commencement address was entitled "Write Your Epitaph Now." Smithmier received his undergraduate degree from St. Louis University and his master's degree in hospital administration from the University of Minnesota.

The ceremony also featured remarks by student Terrence L. Hodge of Chicago, Ill., who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. Hodge was selected by his fellow classmates to address the graduating class.

Millikin University also honored graduates of its Professional Adult Comprehensive Education (PACE) program and Master of Business Administration (MBA) program on May 16 in Kirkland Fine Arts Center.

Sharon T. Alpi, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Millikin University, provided the commencement address on May 16. The ceremony also featured remarks by PACE graduate Natasha Huffman of Decatur, Ill., and Denise R. Smith of Sullivan, Ill., who earned her Master of Business Administration. Huffman graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership.

Click here to read an article from the Herald & Review recapping Millikin University's 111th Commencement ceremony.

Millikin University will host the Illinois Junior Academy of Science (IJAS) State Exposition on May 13-14, 2016. The exposition will be held on Millikin's campus and at the Decatur Indoor Sports Center (DISC), located at 1295 W. Wood St. in Decatur, Ill. Millikin is the first private institution in Illinois to host the annual exposition.

The Illinois Junior Academy of Science State Exposition is the largest high school and middle school research competition in Illinois. More than 1,200 students from schools across Illinois will exhibit research and design investigations. The students represent some of the best and brightest aspiring scientists, engineers, designers and problem-solvers in the state. They will compete for scholarships, best in category awards and other special awards.

Students begin their research and design projects supported locally by their schools, teachers and parents. Students advance to their regional expositions, which select the top students to advance to the state exposition. Students can compete in an oral presentation exposition of their investigation or with a project display competition. Student presentations will include the following topics: consumer and behavioral science, engineering, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, astronomy and astrophysics, and more.

The IJAS also sponsors an essay and artistic design competition.

"Millikin University is thrilled to be chosen to host the Illinois Junior Academy of Science State Exposition," said Millikin University President Dr. Patrick White. "With over 1,200 of our state's best and brightest and most ambitious students here on campus, this gives us an opportunity to showcase Millikin's excellence in the sciences and the opportunities for Performance Learning across campus, while introducing hundreds of families to the warm hospitality of Decatur."

Dr. James V. Rauff, professor of mathematics at Millikin University, will be the featured keynote speaker at the state exposition. Dr. Rauff will present on "Swarm Intelligence: Programming like Ants, Bees, and Fireflies."

Swarm intelligence is an exciting interdisciplinary research area bringing mathematics, computer science, engineering, and biology together to solve difficult problems. Dr. Rauff will outline the principles of algorithms based upon swarm intelligence and highlight some of their applications.

Dr. Rauff holds a Ph.D. in computational linguistics from Northwestern University, an M.A. in mathematics from the University of Wyoming, an M.A. in anthropology from Loyola University-Chicago, and a B.A. in mathematics from Albion College.

The IJAS research competitions are aligned with Illinois State Learning Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards for Literacy in Science and Technology Subjects.

The Illinois Junior Academy of Science exists for the benefit of students in the state of Illinois. The process students follow for the IJAS gives these students some insight into the problems and methods of thinking that are particular to the scientist. This process encourages these students to find information concerning new investigations and discoveries in science. It gives a reason for students with a special interest in science to go beyond the classroom curriculum and develop their own investigation. It encourages students in their progress towards a career in science.

Click here for more information on the IJAS State Exposition.
On April 23, Millikin University honored students and faculty members during the 2015 Distinguished Faculty Lecture and Honors Convocation. The event recognizes students in all four colleges for outstanding scholastic achievement and service to Millikin, and faculty members for exceptional contributions to the University.

Over 70 endowed awards were presented, many of which were established over the past 100 years as a way to remember the Millikin students, faculty, staff and friends who have left a lasting impression upon the University community.

This year's Distinguished Faculty Lecture was presented by Dr. W. Thomas Duncanson, Millikin associate professor of communication. Dr. Duncanson's areas of specialization include rhetorical studies, communication ethics and argumentation. The topic of his address was "The Second Person."

Congratulations to this year's winners.


Behavioral Science Award – Dana C. Hunt, from Mundelein, Ill.

Henry F. Gromoll Service Award – Kayla L. Foster, from St. Louis, Mo.

Biology Honors Award – Spencer B. Hudson, from Wilmington, Del.

Dr. Neil Baird Biology Lab Assistant Award – Lindsey C. Ross, from Decatur, Ill., and Stephanie N. Schroeder, from Metropolis, Ill.

Clyde Dennis Award – Moli A. Copple, from El Paso, Ill., and Rachael A. Croy, from Decatur, Ill.

George and Rick Glasscock Memorial Biology Award – Kendra L. Peterson, from Batavia, Ill.

John and Ula Leighty Research Award – Ashley M. Fulk, from Altamont, Ill., Rachel A. Kindred, from Ottawa, Ill., Olivia G. Waszczuk, from Roselle, Ill., and Elizabeth R. Wrobel, from Tinley Park, Ill.

Alpha Epsilon Delta Award – Jenna M. Farquhar, from Ledyard, Conn., and Jessica M. Kerr, from O'Fallon, Ill.

American Institute of Chemists Award – Ashley V. Flores, from Round Lake, Ill.

Chemical Rubber Company Prize – Korinne L. Frankford, from Alton, Ill., and Brooke N. Smith, from Franklin Grove, Ill.

Dr. and Mrs. William F. Henderson Prize – Kayla L. Bryant, from New Lenox, Ill., Adam G. Falasz, from Bloomington, Ill., Skya M. Gentle, from Lisle, Ill., and Drake M. Mellott, from Sterling, Ill.

Carl and Lucile Weatherbee Chemistry Award – Adam G. Falasz, from Bloomington, Ill., Ashley V. Flores, from Round Lake, Ill., Skya M. Gentle, from Lisle, Ill., and Drake M. Mellott, from Sterling, Ill.

Carl and Lucile Weatherbee Graduate Studies Award – Christopher M. Potter, from Decatur, Ill.

Dr. Everett J. Brown Prize – Taylor R. Bley, from Le Claire, Iowa, and Samuel C. Deary, from Virginia Beach, Va.

Dr. and Mrs. W.J. Darby Prize – Alice K. Dembinski, from Indianola, Iowa, and Alexsandra M. Reynolds, from Decatur, Ill.

Dr. Grace Patten Conant Writing Award (For literary creation) – Abigail J. Wieser, from Kewanee, Ill.

Dr. Grace Patten Conant Writing Award (For literary interpretation) – Erynn M. Williams, from Mt. Zion, Ill.

Dr. Grace Patten Conant English Department Award – Brittany M. Mytnik, from Plainfield, Ill.

Dr. Grace Patten Conant Society Achievement Award – Chelsea M. Dunmire, from Macon, Ill., Matthew D. Gremo, from Decatur, Ill., Emma P. Hoyer, from Champaign, Ill., Caitlin E. Husted, from Germantown Hills, Ill., and Erynn M. Williams, from Mt. Zion, Ill.

Outstanding Journalism Award – Morgan E. Ewald, from Mount Carmel, Ill.

Dr. J. Graham Provan History Award – Kelli M. Layton, from Grayslake, Ill., Jacob Sagan, from Oak Forest, Ill., and Lindsay M. Tipsword, from Decatur, Ill.

Albert T. Mills Prize – Lauren A. Nesbitt, from Sidney, Ill.

John E. Vrooman History Prize – Carla A. Franzene, from Lake Geneva, Wis.

Sigrid A. Stottrup History Award – Emily D. Crutchfield, from Morton, Ill.

Mathematics and Computer Science Award – Hailee L. Peck, from Livermore, Calif.

Linda Weatherbee Mathematics Award – Tyler J. Ross, from Oak Forest, Ill., and Jonathon P. Spaw, from Lake in the Hills, Ill.

Modern Languages Linguistic Excellence Award – Moli A. Copple, from El Paso, Ill.

Modern Languages Literary Criticism Prize – Lydia L. Burke, from Indianapolis, Ind.

Margaret Burkhardt Johnson Modern Language Excellence Award – Jonathan Rodriguez, from Tucson, Ariz.

Dr. Robert McIntire Political Science Award – Kathleen A. Wrigley, from Decatur, Ill., and Jennifer C. Zima, from Greenfield, Wis.

T.W. Samuels Award – Joshua S. Rose, from Saint Jacob, Ill.

Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz Philosophy Award – Robert T. Spurling, from Taylorville, Ill.

Rev. Robert S. and Doris Stewart Prize in Religion – Mitchell B. Brannon, from Spring Valley, Ill., Christopher P. Hartley, from Mokena, Ill., Andrea L. Muhlbauer, from Fenton, Mo., and Jonathon P. Spaw, from Lake in the Hills, Ill.

Outstanding Physics Award – Remmi D.C. Baker, from Decatur, Ill.


Pi Kappa Lambda Outstanding Senior Award – Christopher R. Raymond, from Bourbonnais, Ill.

Presser Scholarship – Phillip R. Lopez, from Avon, Ill.

Alice Herren Ayars Award – Brock B. Gwaltney, from Jacksonville, Ill.

Mary B. Merris Award – Kiara T. Colon, from Chicago, Ill.

Winifred St. Clair Minturn Award – Michael S. Claver, from Volo, Ill.

William Eichenauer Guitar Award – Christopher P. Hartley, from Mokena, Ill., and Adam D. Wissman, from Pekin, Ill.

Thomas A. Johnson Memorial Award – John P. Robinson, from Bloomington, Ill.

Dr. Russell Tiede Honors Award – Christopher R. Raymond, from Bourbonnais, Ill.

Dr. Maria Klott Memorial Award – Christina E. Cummins, from Algonquin, Ill.

Handler Award for Excellence, Bachelor of Arts in Music – Christopher P. Hartley, from Mokena, Ill., and Conner P. Kerrigan, from Frankfort, Ill.

Dr. L.C. McNabb Memorial Award – Rachel M. Fantus-Reininger, from Rowlett, Texas, Daniel G. Jenson, from Decatur, Ill., and Jamie N. Shriner, from Valparaiso, Ind.

Michelle Chartier Memorial Award – Tyler J. Hixson, from Monticello, Ill., and Andrea L. Muhlbauer, from Fenton, Mo.

Kathryn Paige Torp Memorial Award – Chad P. Shingler, from New Lenox, Ill.

Ron Smith Award in Musical Theatre – Danielle T. Davila, from Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Anthony J. Norman, from Chicago, Ill.

J. Ben Wand Prize – China A. Brickey, from Chicago, Ill., and Terrence L. Hodge, from Riverdale, Ill.

Marvin Klaven Art Award – Sarah E. Kisly, from Crystal Lake, Ill., and Michelle M. Sendy, from Libertyville, Ill.

David S. Monroe Art Award – Danna M. Herbach, from Wheaton, Ill., Kayla L. Lovel, from Carrollton, Ill., Tetyana-Khrystyna Konareva, from Bangalore, India., Alison M. Moeller, from Nashville, Ill., Taryn N. Pepping, from Eldridge, Iowa, Nicole M. Putong, from Lombard, Ill., Elsa K. Rotramel, from Arthur, Ill., Kathryn F. Scarim, from Palos Park, Ill., Lavante R. Smith, from Decatur, Ill., Courtney M. Woodruff, from Momence, Ill., Natalie T. Zelman, from Naperville, Ill., and Xin Zhao, from Oreana, Ill.

Dorothy Sellers Art Award – Jessica G. Brooks, from Decatur, Ill., Jessica K. Claussen, from Grant Park, Ill., Brian J. Dixon, from Elburn, Ill., and Lindsay A. Quick, from Mattoon, Ill.


The Barbara and Robert Byrkit Award – Amber L. Butler, from Yale, Ill., and Kelsey R. Pigati, from Decatur, Ill.

Dr. Jerald Hunt and Dr. Darlene Hoffman Award – Alyssa L. Larson, from Ashton, Ill.

The Smith/Orlandini Book Award – Parker M. Day, from Winchester, Ill., and Secily R. Moss, from Pana, Ill.

Walter Witt Award – Jacob D. Griffith, from Villa Grove, Ill., Hannah E. Millington, from Argenta, Ill., Kelly J. Skorczewski, from Schaumburg, Ill., and Hallie K. Williams, from Macon, Ill.

Alpha Tau Delta Honorarium Award – Haley B. Rediger, from Yorkville, Ill.

Decatur Memorial Hospital R.H. Cleland R.N. Award – Karlee L. VanDeVelde, from Winchester, Ill.

James Millikin Theory and Practice of Nursing Award – Alyssa P. Saklak, from Schaumburg, Ill.

Dorotha F. Dean Nursing Award – Keona H. Long, from Decatur, Ill.

Macon County Medical Auxiliary Award – Jessica A. Springman, from Lovington, Ill.

The Dr. Mary D. Shanks & Dr. Linda K. Niedringhaus Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award – Kelsey E. Farrell, from Bloomington, Ill.


Glen R. Smith Award – Mariana L. Weber, from Manchester, Mo.

Smith/Quigle Family Award – Diana E. Popoca, from Woodstock, Ill.

John H. Crocker Memorial Award – Dillon T. Damarin, from Macon, Ill.

Margaret Sparks Award – Amanda M. Lee, from Lockport, Ill.

Linda Weatherbee Human Resource Management Award – Tiffany A. Couri, from Decatur, Ill.

Paul R. Winn Memorial Achievement Award – Mariana L. Weber, from Manchester, Mo.


Alpha Lambda Delta Senior Book Award – Catherine J. Hixson, from Monticello, Ill., and Dana C. Hunt, from Mundelein, Ill.

The JoAnne Trow Award – Danna M. Herbach, from Wheaton, Ill.

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Illinois Delta Chapter Award of Excellence – Jacob D. Griffith, from Villa Grove, Ill., Tyler T. Henderson, from Naperville, Ill., Kyle J. McArdell, from Gridley, Ill., Nicholas W. Sanders, from Marion, Ill., Grey S. Taxon, from Plainfield, Ill., and Benjamin M. Woodard, from Quincy, Ill.

The Millikin University Greek Five Star Chapter Award – Pi Beta Phi and Delta Delta Delta

C.W. Barnes Memorial Award – Latrisha A. Maxwell, from Decatur, Ill.

Parent & Family Association Achievement Awards – Ebony S. Hughey, from Saint Anne, Ill., Jared L. Rixstine, from Washington, Ill., Oliver E. Czopek, from Oswego, Ill., and Dejaujhn D. Thompson, from Chicago, Ill.

Major Thomas G. Storey Citizenship Award – Amanda M. Morgan, from University Park, Ill.

Dr. Jere C. Mickel Human Relations Award – Waylan G. Stevens, from Fort Defiance, Ariz.

Daniel J. and Elinor Gage Student Activities Award – Lindsay A. Quick, from Mattoon, Ill.

Helen Moffett Russell Community Service Award – Alice K. Dembinski, from Indianola, Iowa

Eshelman Family Award – Hailee L. Peck, from Livermore, Calif., and Robert T. Spurling, from Taylorville, Ill.

Dr. Jan Devore Award for Excellence in Contributions to Campus Life – Kalyn A. Miller, from Decatur, Ill.

Dr. J. Roger Miller Leadership Award – Joshua S. Rose, from Saint Jacob, Ill.

Alpha Lambda Delta Outstanding Teaching Award – Alex Miller, Millikin associate professor of theatre and dance

Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award – Dr. Jennifer Schroeder, Millikin associate professor of biology

Scovill Prizes – Emily A. Cleveland, from Mokena, Ill., Jared L. Rixstine, from Washington, Ill., Gabriella K. Cimino, from Homewood, Ill., Emily D. Crutchfield, from Morton, Ill., Alexander H. Koulos, from Naperville, Ill., Abigail J. Karnes, from Liberty, Mo., Jonathon P. Spaw, from Lake in the Hills, Ill., and Tyler J. Hixson, from Monticello, Ill.

Millikin University will celebrate its Spring Commencement with two ceremonies on the weekend of May 16-17, 2015.

Millikin's traditional ceremony for students will be on Sunday, May 17, at 2 p.m. at the Decatur Civic Center. Millikin will host a ceremony for graduates of its Professional Adult Comprehensive Education (PACE) program and Master of Business Administration (MBA) program on Saturday, May 16, at 7 p.m. in Kirkland Fine Arts Center. Tickets are required for admission to both ceremonies.

The ceremony on May 17 will mark the graduation of approximately 350 students. Kenneth L. Smithmier, president and chief executive officer of Illinois Health and Science (IHS), will serve as the 2015 Commencement speaker on May 17. The ceremony will also include remarks by student Terrence L. Hodge of Chicago, Ill., who will be graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. Hodge was selected by his fellow classmates to address the graduating class.

Ken Smithmier has been with Illinois Health and Science since 1993. IHS is the parent corporation of a number of companies including Decatur Memorial Hospital (DMH). Located in Decatur, Ill., Decatur Memorial Hospital is a 300 bed, not-for-profit, community hospital that has been providing medical care since 1916 for the residents of central Illinois. Today, DMH has nearly 2,300 dedicated employees and 300 physicians. DMH encompasses 11 state-of-the-art centers of excellence. DMH has been recognized four consecutive years as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospital from Truven Health Analytics.

Smithmier has spent his entire life in healthcare starting as an 18-year-old Navy corpsman. After the service, he was a 1978 graduate of the St. Louis University Physician Assistant program and worked as a physician assistant for five years. He subsequently graduated from the University of Minnesota with a master's degree in hospital administration.

Prior to joining IHS, Smithmier held a variety of executive positions in hospitals, from small rural facilities to major teaching hospital positions at BJC Healthcare in St. Louis, Mo.

Smithmier has extensive experience throughout the healthcare industry. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Hospital Association from 1998 to 2004 and served as chairman in 2003. He is a past member of the American Hospital Association's (AHA) Regional Policy Board and has served on many AHA committees and task forces.

The ceremony on May 16 will celebrate the graduation of students earning their bachelor's degree from Millikin in one of five academic programs offered in PACE, the accelerated evening bachelor's degree program for adults, and students receiving their Master of Business Administration from Millikin. The speaker for the ceremony will be Sharon T. Alpi, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Millikin University.

The ceremony will also include speeches by PACE student Natasha Huffman of Decatur, Ill., and Denise Smith of Sullivan, Ill., who will be receiving her Master of Business Administration. Huffman is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership, and currently works at Jim's Auto Sales where she manages the family business. Denise Smith received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Eastern Illinois University. She currently serves as director of People Services at St. Mary's Hospital in Decatur, Ill. Both students were selected by fellow classmates to address the graduating class.

Sharon Alpi is a 25-year faculty member of Millikin University's Tabor School of Business and founded the Center for Entrepreneurship in 1998. Alpi was the recipient of Millikin's Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award, and received the Governor of Illinois' Small Business Advocate of the Year Award in 2001. In 2004, she was named a Coleman Foundation Professor in Entrepreneurship, joining 11 other named professors from around the country.

For more information on Millikin University's 2015 Spring Commencement, please visit
Millikin University celebrated the scholastic achievements of students throughout the campus community during its Celebrations of Scholarship (COS) on April 24. The event featured a full day of student presentations on the Millikin campus.

Millikin's Celebrations of Scholarship recognizes the research, scholarship and creative efforts of students from all four colleges and the University-wide Honors Program, showing that an education focused on engaging students in the theory and practice of their disciplines develops accomplished scholars prepared for graduate and professional study or challenging positions in the workplace.

Multiple research topics were featured throughout the day including Barks for Books, a presentation led by Ramey Sola, a junior human services major from Champaign, Ill. Barks for Books is a student organization that will partner with Dennis Lab School to allow children to read to therapy dogs in order to improve literacy skills.

In Albert Taylor Theatre, Millikin students from "Acting for the Musical Stage" performed scenes and presented research highlighting specific information about their approach.

Click here to read an article from the Herald & Review that recaps Millikin's Celebrations of Scholarship.
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
1 - 10 Next
Skip navigation links
Press Releases
There are no items in this list.

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