Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Press Releases
Millikin University student Kathryn Scarim, a senior art therapy major from Palos Park, Ill., is Blue Connection's 2015 Summer Artist-in-Residence. Showcasing her artwork throughout the months of June and July, Scarim is also managing the gallery which strives to highlight fine art students that are a rising success in their fields.

Continuing her art therapy studies this fall at Millikin, Scarim's work focuses on abstract paintings and figure drawings. Scarim's daily routines at Blue Connection include bookkeeping and customer service.

Scarim noted, "Blue Connection brings Millikin students and faculty together with the Decatur community to appreciate and understand all that goes into artistic creation. The Artist-in-Residency program is a spectacular opportunity because I will be able to develop my skills in a professional environment."

Blue Connection provides a public venue for Millikin students to sell and showcase their artwork. The art gallery is used by students in Millikin's Arts and Entrepreneurship Program to grow their businesses.

Millikin's Arts and Entrepreneurship Program provides performance-based business opportunities for students to exercise self-employment. The program utilizes student-run ventures to provide students live practice in developing, launching, and growing a business.

Click here to read more about Kathryn Scarim's work at Blue Connection in an article from the Herald & Review.

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 and PPG Industries Inc. have partnered to host Tech AdVentures, an entrepreneurship-based summer camp held at Millikin University for current 8th – 12th grade students.

Students are learning how to identify opportunities for innovation using an entrepreneurial mindset. Students are also learning how to design solutions using Raspberry Pi computers and toolkits, and building solutions to real-world problems and integrating electronics into technology.

RJ Podeschi, Millikin assistant professor of information systems, says the program "is a great opportunity for students who have an interest in a tech-related field. Students can explore a platform, Raspberry Pi, which has limitless possibilities. The students pick up tech skills and are creative simultaneously."

James Seyfert, a senior physics major at Millikin, from Decatur, Ill., and a Tech AdVentures instructor, says giving young students an understanding of how technology works will help them as they head off to college and move into their careers.

Click here to read more about Tech AdVentures in an article from the Herald & Review.
Nearly two weeks into his summer mission trip overseas to South Africa, Millikin University student Jared Rixstine recognized the importance of not only sharing knowledge but pursuing it.

Rixstine, a senior music performance and political science double major from Washington, Ill., recently spent three weeks in June traveling abroad to the village of Hammanskraal, South Africa, where he worked with Bethesda Outreach Ministries. Bethesda's mission is to help local churches in meeting the needs of orphan children.

"A mission trip has always been something that I wanted to do and I wanted to dedicate myself to serving a community," said Rixstine. "Bethesda Outreach provided the opportunity for me to teach at their school and be a mentor to the orphans. It was perfect timing for me to be a part of the experience."

In addition to teaching at the local school, Rixstine provided music lessons, tutored students and helped with maintenance around the village.

Rixstine added, "I had two main goals while I was in South Africa. First, to serve and help everyone there including the orphans, house parents and maintenance workers – help them all have an easier time. My second goal was to grow stronger in my faith. Both of my goals were obtained and it was an incredible experience throughout the whole process."

In terms of tutoring, Rixstine worked with students in grades 4-10 helping them study social science, history, geography and math. During the music lessons, Rixstine taught the students how to read music and play a variety of instruments.

"They were fascinated by music, not only piano and guitar, but the concept of music," said Rixstine. "I was able to teach the students a couple of songs that they wanted to learn. One of the older students only wanted to learn a couple of contemporary Christian songs and John Legend's 'All of Me.' We learned all those songs and we held a couple of jam sessions."

Rixstine also taught 3rd and 4th grade classes, which had as many as 20 students in each class.

"I think Millikin, in general, prepared me for being able to teach by giving me the opportunities my first year to work in programs such as Homework Hangout," Rixstine noted.

When asked about his maintenance duties, Rixstine says, "We worked in the garden, cleaned fire pits and changed light bulbs all around campus. It was a good time to do a wide variety of things that I had been prepared to do for years."

To reflect back on his journey and accomplishments, Rixstine started a blog where he wrote entries every day while in South Africa. The title of the blog was "Jared Journeys." His entries included details about his work with the students and his service to the village.

"The experience gave me a perspective on poverty, which was life-changing," said Rixstine. "Another thing I learned is that when you go out on a limb for something you truly believe in, it strengthens your faith and strengthens your ability to share that with other people."
Big Blue student-athletes give back to community
Millikin University student Bradley May, a senior graphic design major from Rockford, Ill., is helping with changes and new exhibits at the Macon Country History Museum.

Starting as an intern in 2013, May has helped the museum develop a new logo, website and Facebook page, all in preparation for the Macon County Historical Society's 100th anniversary next year.

The museum recently held its grand reopening on June 20 featuring a new exhibit dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and Decatur's Grand Army of the Republic.

May, along with Millikin graduate and professional photographer Tyler Kelly '15, started Culturati Creative in 2015. Culturati Creative provides design and marketing services to help elevate brands and businesses.

Click here to read more about May's work with the Macon County History Museum in an article from the Herald & Review.
Blue Satellite Press, a Millikin University student-run letterpress publishing business, recently held a fundraiser for the American Legion Post 105 in Decatur, Ill. As part of the fundraiser, Blue Satellite Press printed and sold "Honor Our Veterans" coasters to help raise money for the American Legion and Macon County Honor Guard.

Blue Satellite Press raised $500 which was donated to the American Legion on June 22 by Dr. Stephen Frech, Millikin associate professor of English and Blue Satellite Press faculty advisor.

"I wanted to create a project with my students that reached outside of the classroom and had an impact on the community," said Dr. Frech.

U.S. Congressman and Millikin alumnus Rodney Davis '92, (R-Ill.) 13th Congressional District, was in attendance for the ceremony.

Rodney Davis was recently sworn into his second term in Congress serving the 13th District of Illinois, a 14-county district covering both urban and rural areas of central and southwestern Illinois. For the 114th Congress, Davis will serve on the House Agriculture Committee, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the House Administration Committee.

Blue Satellite Press was started in 2008 with a mission of printing high-quality letterpress poetry broadsides. Students solicit previously unpublished work from contemporary poets, and then design a broadside that showcases what they admire in the poem. Students also engage in the editorial aspects of the press by soliciting and selecting poems, communicating with writers and distributing broadsides.

Click here to view WCIA-TV's coverage of the fundraiser.

Millikin University's Chemistry Department is giving back to the community by providing research opportunities for economically disadvantaged local high school chemistry students.

Through the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Project SEED Summer Research Program, three high school chemistry students are participating in research activities alongside Millikin chemistry undergraduates and faculty in the Leighty-Tabor Science Center from June 8 to Aug. 7, 2015.

In April, the ACS Project SEED Summer Research Program awarded Millikin University $7,000 in fellowship funds, along with $500 from the Decatur-Springfield ACS Chapter. The students receive a fellowship award of $2,500 for their work.

Students Alison Harris of Eisenhower High School, Perri Grimes of Eisenhower High School and Precious Dixon of Douglas MacArthur High School in Decatur, Ill., were selected for the program.

"I think this opportunity can be life-changing for the students," said Dr. Anne Rammelsberg, Millikin associate professor of chemistry. "The program provides the students a better understanding of research and Performance Learning."

Alison Harris added, "Science is what I'm looking into for college and when I first heard about the program I thought it would be an exciting experience. I'm looking at animal science or environmental science in the future, and this experience will help."

For eight weeks, the students are studying hollow nanoparticles, specifically bunches of silver atoms coated with clumps of gold atoms, to see if they can one day be injected into tumors to destroy cancer from the inside out without harming healthy tissue.

Millikin students working on the project with the high school students include Peter Piers, a senior chemistry major from Schaumburg, Ill., and Aaron Fleming, a senior biology major from Lovington, Ill.

Dr. Rammelsberg noted, "Basically the students are looking for a new cancer chemotherapeutic methodology. They're looking at which hollow gold nanoparticle-liposome composite works at certain temperatures."

To be eligible for the Project SEED Program, students must meet specific academic and family income requirements, and demonstrate the potential to work in a chemical laboratory. Students entering their junior or senior year in high school and who have completed at least one high school chemistry course were eligible to apply. 

"I want to improve in chemistry and I hope this experience will help," said Precious Dixon. "Being able to work in a lab and work with advanced technology is a great opportunity. Hopefully, this is something I want to do long-term." 

When asked what the students will take from the experience, Dr. Rammelsberg says, "That chemistry might be something they may want to major in. I'm very impressed with the students and I think this is an opportunity to show how Performance Learning expands beyond the undergraduate level."

Click here to read more about the Project SEED Program and the research activities in an article from the Herald & Review.

Millikin University's Women's Basketball program teamed up with Decatur Public Schools (DPS-61) to create a Big Blue youth basketball clinic specifically designed for girls grades 4-8. The dates for the basketball clinic are June 16-18 and July 21-23.

On June 17, 250 campers attended the basketball clinic, held in the Griswold Center, to learn the basic fundamentals of passing, dribbling and shooting from Millikin Head Women's Basketball Coach Lori Kerans, as well as Millikin Women's Basketball staff members and student-athletes.

Millikin and DPS worked with the Community Partnership of Macon County to make sure the event was free. Those who attend receive a T-shirt and those who attend three of the six days get to take home a basketball.

Millikin student-athlete Hannah Millington, a junior sports management major from Argenta, Ill., said, "It really makes you appreciate giving the campers the opportunity because you're seeing them learn so much. Even from the first day to now they've grown."

Click here to read more about the basketball clinic in an article from the Herald & Review.

In recent years, Millikin University's Master of Business Administration (MBA) cohort has ended the spring semester with a trip to China to study international business. This past May, as a culmination of the program, MBA candidates and faculty traveled abroad to a slightly different destination: Koblenz, Germany.

For the first time since 2005, MBA students spent a week in Germany visiting companies, taking cultural tours, and immersing in international business by studying at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management.

A privately funded business school based in Vallendar and Düsseldorf, the Beisheim School of Management is a leading business school in Germany and is continuously ranked among the top business schools in Europe.

"We went back to Germany because they have a true economy with high wages and they're a good example of how to survive in the modern world," said Dr. Anthony Liberatore, director of Millikin's MBA Program.

During their visit to WHU, teams of Millikin MBA candidates were tasked with crafting a market-entry strategy for a premium watch company in either Western or Eastern Europe. The teams had to present their business plans in front of faculty members as part of their studies.

MBA graduate Christa Jordan, from Mt. Zion, Ill., said, "It was good to get their perspective after we made our presentation. Being able to work with a group, generate ideas, and present the ideas to the professors was a challenging project but a good learning process."

Prior to their case work, the students took part in several lectures at WHU, learning about marketing and luxury brands.

"The students were provided information on Europe's economic landscape as well as information on business development," said Dr. J. Mark Munoz, Millikin professor of international management. "They were given preliminary information to help them with their case work and to understand how to do business in Europe."

Tyler Braniff, a recent MBA graduate from Springfield, Ill., added, "WHU was a first-class institution. We had five days to put together a business plan, and it gave us an opportunity to really dig into the European market. Looking back, the trip provided many great hands-on experiences."

In addition to their studies at WHU, students and faculty had the opportunity to visit a number of companies, including Klöckner Pentaplast and Hack AG.

The Klöckner Pentaplast Group is among the world's largest suppliers of films for pharmaceutical, medical devices, food, electronics and general packaging. Hack AG manufactures bakery products and offers frozen bakery goods. Hack AG was founded in 1930 and is based in Kurtscheid, Germany.

"During their visit to Hack AG, the students were able to see how high-end food manufacturing in Europe is done," said Dr. Munoz. "The tour was unique because the students met the CEO of Hack AG, who happened to be very engaged throughout the process. He explained what the company was all about and what they hope to accomplish in the future."

When asked about the academic lessons during the immersion trip, Dr. Liberatore says, "One of the biggest lessons is that it opens up people's perspectives on international business. Throughout our MBA Program, students learn about business in the U.S. and how to create a business plan. The immersion trip is unique because it provides an international perspective. The students learn the concepts, but they also learn how to apply them through a case study."

Recent MBA graduate and Millikin Graduate Programs Coordinator, Marianne Taylor added, "The willingness of the companies to open up to us was amazing. In terms of the case study, WHU had high expectations of us, we learned a lot."
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL