Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Press Releases
Millikin University biology students are gaining valuable research experience by examining birds at the Illinois Raptor Center.

As part of their research, the students take measurements, perform diagnostic tests and test for lead poisoning.

Dr. Travis Wilcoxen, Millikin assistant professor of biology and Illinois Raptor Center board member, says the research is producing important information about birds and local ecosystems.

Click here to read the Herald & Review's article on the Illinois Raptor Center.
Millikin University undergrad Michelle Sendy, a senior art therapy major from Libertyville, Ill., was selected as one of two artists to receive the Naomi Winston Scholarship in Art for her creative efforts. The scholarship is offered by the St. Louis Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL).

The National Society of Arts and Letters is an organization that sponsors competitions and scholarships for young people in the creative arts. The scholarships are for private study, special training or personal advancement of the artist's future career.

As one of two young artists selected, Sendy received a $250 award, and is eligible to compete in the National Society of Arts and Letters National Competition.

"I was honored that they chose me and my work," said Sendy. "It's a good feeling when others appreciate and recognize your hard work."

In terms of her artwork, Sendy uses ovals as the source of content. She chose ovals because they hold history and form structure in a composition that would otherwise be considered chaos.

"Cluttered with vibrant colors and rooted in gesture, I hope to enrich and energize my viewers," said Sendy. "I use both oil paint and mixed media that is often scraped or drawn on."

Sendy added, "As of now, my work is an exploration of shapes and colors and the fine-tuning of my understanding of how to paint. In the future, I hope to keep learning and exploring. I have a passion for knowledge that can only be nurtured through more education which is why I'm continuing on to get my graduate degree at Illinois State University. I have been offered a full scholarship as well as a teaching assistantship."

In honor of Naomi Rabb Winston, NSAL established an annual scholarship fund for young visual artists between the ages of 16 and 22. Applicants must demonstrate exceptional talent and promise of future success.

"Students like Michelle Sendy, epitomize the very best in terms of not only the amount of time and effort it takes to experiment and refine their own creative efforts towards a given artistic output, but also in terms of the engagement of an external audience," said Lyle Salmi, chair of Millikin University's Art Department. "Entering into a competition such as the Naomi Winston Art Scholarship suffices as one of the necessary aspects of Performance Learning. Michelle has clearly made the important connection of what she has learned in the classroom, and has applied that knowledge to develop professionally as an artist."

Millikin's Perkinson Art Gallery in Kirkland Fine Arts Center will showcase Sendy's artwork on Sunday, April 19, 2015, from 1 – 3 p.m. The exhibit will also feature the work of Millikin students Courtney Woodruff, a senior studio art major from Momence, Ill., and Stuart Ball, a senior studio art major from Carmel, Ind.

Salmi added, "To not only compete, but to win an award is evidence of the degree to which we, at Millikin, fully embrace Performance Learning throughout our curriculum."

Millikin University's School of Music is pleased to announce Chris Raymond (bassoon), senior instrumental music performance major from Bourbonnais, Ill., the winner of the 2015 Hollis Prize Competition Recital.

Held on March 21 in Kaeuper Hall, Perkinson Music Center, the Hollis Prize Recital featured performances from Millikin University's top three music performing students, including: Abigail Karnes (soprano), junior vocal performance major with a theatre minor from Kearney, Mo., and Chloe Raffe (soprano), junior vocal performance major from Des Plaines, Ill.

The Hollis Prize is the highest award that may be received by a student instrumentalist or vocalist within the Millikin School of Music. First awarded in spring 2003, Millikin is one of only a few schools in the country to offer this type of prestigious prize through a music competition.

"I am beyond words for how humbled and honored I am for receiving the Hollis Prize," said Raymond. "From the day I was selected as a finalist I already felt like a winner, and because Abagail Karnes and Chloe Raffe are spectacular musicians, it has made the past few weeks quite exciting."

The winner of the Hollis Prize was chosen by outside faculty judges and received a $2000 award; runners-up each received $500.

In recognition of this achievement, Raymond will perform a recital on Sunday, April 26, at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, Ill., beginning at 2 p.m.

"The Hollis recital was a marvelous event with all three students giving excellent performances," said Dr. Stephen Widenhofer, director of Millikin University's School of Music. "Chris Raymond will represent the School of Music well as the Hollis Prize winner and at the Chicagoland concert in Elgin."

Raymond added, "Winning the Hollis Prize was a long-term goal of mine that I had set my eyes on since my freshman year at Millikin. From the moment I walked offstage at the Hollis finals until now, I have been reflecting on my past performance, appreciating the good things that happened and deciding what parts of my playing could have gone better. I am excited to perform again because I want to continue working and give an even better performance."

The Hollis Prize Recital is generously funded by Dr. C. Kimm Hollis, a 1972 Millikin graduate, and professor of music and artist in residence at Hanover College in Hanover, Ind.

Hollis Prize Performers

Abigail Karnes – Soprano

Abigail Karnes has recently appeared as Galatea in Millikin Opera Theatre's production of "Acis and Galatea" and Millikin's main stage production of Puccini One Acts as Nella in "Gianni Schicchi." She also played French horn in the pit orchestra for Millikin's production of "Cinderella" in 2012 and was the assistant stage manager for Millikin's production of "Sacred/Secular: Cantatas" by J.S. Bach. Karnes is also a member of the Millikin University Choir.

Chloe Raffe – Soprano

Chloe Raffe has performed with the Millikin Opera Theatre as the Nursing Sister in Puccini's "Suor Angelica" and as Serpina in Pergolesi's "La Serva Padrona." Her diverse experiences include performing in Rome, Italy with the Willows Academy Chamber Choir. She is a member of the award-winning Millikin University Choir under the direction of Dr. Brad Holmes, Millikin director of choral activities. After receiving her degree from Millikin, Raffe plans to continue studying opera performance in graduate school.

Chris Raymond – Bassoon

Christopher Raymond regularly performs with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra (MDSO), the Eidolan Woodwind Quintet, and Millikin's Symphonic Wind Ensemble, where he has held the Principal Bassoon chair for the past four years. A two-time winner of the Concerto/Aria competition, Raymond performed Weber's "Concerto in F Major" with the MDSO in 2013. Other featured appearances include performances with the Millikin Wind Ensemble and the Kankakee Valley Symphony.

Millikin's School of Music is committed to developing complete musicians artistically, technically and intellectually by emphasizing the integration of theory and practice with other disciplines across the University. For more information on Millikin's School of Music, visit
Millikin University men's basketball coaches and players hosted a community-based basketball skills camp for children at the Decatur Indoor Sports Center (DISC) March 21-22.

Matt Nadelhoffer, Millikin head men's basketball coach, says the program thrives on making an impact in the community by hosting several camps for children and older students each year.

Millikin will be holding additional basketball camps in June, July and August. Click here to read the Herald & Review's recap of the skills camp.
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's School of Nursing (SON) graduate program is ranked among the Best Nursing Schools in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's 2016 edition of "Best Graduate Schools."

For the newly expanded U.S. News Best Nursing Schools rankings, 503 nursing schools with master's or doctoral programs accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing were surveyed. Of those, 273 responded, and 246 were eligible to be included in the U.S. News rankings of master's programs.

"In 2011, Millikin's School of Nursing graduate program was ranked #193 and this year, Millikin is ranked #165. Given the graduate program's short existence, this is an incredible accomplishment," said Dr. Pamela Lindsey, director of Millikin's School of Nursing. "The administration and faculty who envisioned the SON graduate program just 10 years ago are to be commended, as well as the ongoing accomplishments of faculty for creating exciting and innovative programs at both the master's and doctoral level. This national recognition acknowledges the achievements and future successes of our students and alumni."

The U.S. News rankings of master's programs are based on a weighted average of several indicators including quality assessment, student selectivity and achievement, faculty resources and research activity. Data was collected in fall 2014 and early 2015.

"National recognition from a well-known publication like U.S. News & World Report for Millikin's graduate program in nursing is exciting, but confirms what we already know: Millikin University prepares students extraordinarily well for personal and professional success," said Dr. Jeffery Aper, Millikin provost. "Millikin's nursing faculty is an extraordinarily capable, hard-working and effective community of scholars, teachers and devoted practitioners of the art and science of nursing."

U.S. News & World Report's 2016 edition of "Best Graduate Schools" is available online at and on newsstands Tuesday, April 7.

Millikin University's nursing undergraduate and Master of Science in Nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Students entering the School of Nursing may earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Millikin's School of Nursing prepares graduates to practice evidenced-based care within an ethically-grounded framework, to engage in life-long learning, and to become leaders in the nursing profession. For more information on Millikin University's School of Nursing, visit

Dr. Aper added, "We are immensely proud of Millikin's nursing faculty and of their students, who make the most of the opportunities for learning and growth their professors provide. In the end, it's our students and their many successes that are ultimately our greatest claim to distinction."

Millikin University is a private, comprehensive university with a diverse student population of approximately 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students. A Millikin education features "Performance Learning," a unique learning approach offering students the chance to build the confidence to succeed before and after graduation. Millikin offers more than 50 majors in the College of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Professional Studies and Tabor School of Business, and is located on a 75-acre residential campus in Decatur, Ill. Last year, 99 percent of Millikin graduates gained employment or admission into professional/graduate school within six months of graduation. More information is available at
Millikin University student-attorneys and delegates were recognized for their efforts at the 37th annual Model Illinois Government (MIG) simulation held Feb. 26 – March 1 at the State Capital Complex in Springfield, Ill.

Each spring semester, students from around the state of Illinois participate in the Model Illinois Government simulation. Nearly 300 students from over 20 colleges and universities participated in this year's simulation. 

The MIG Moot Court competition included teams of two attorneys arguing cases before a panel of student-justices and legal professionals. Teams were scored on the basis of presentation and knowledge of the case facts. Millikin University brought five teams to this year's competition with teams advancing to the quarter-final round, semi-final round, and a newly configured four-team final round. 

In addition to the students who participated as attorneys, three Millikin students participated as student-justices: Kara Anderson, a senior philosophy major from Danville, Ill., Kiana Holmes, a junior sociology major from Elgin, Ill., and Rob Spurling, a senior philosophy major from Taylorville, Ill. The student-justices demonstrated mastery of the case files by firing a continuous volley of questions at the attorneys.

"Our students worked extremely hard in advance of and during the competition to produce and then deliver sophisticated legal arguments," said Dr. Robert Money, Millikin professor of philosophy. "The results speak for themselves. It is an honor to work with such bright and motivated students." 

Millikin student-attorney Courtney Burress, a junior philosophy major from Marseilles, Ill., was elected to serve as Chief Justice of the Model Illinois Government Moot Court competition for 2015-2016. Burress will be on the Model Illinois Government Executive Board for the upcoming year.

"This was my first year participating in the competition and the experience was absolutely incredible," said Burress. "Listening to other schools compete and talking to actual lawyers, professors of law, and students from other schools who have the same aspirations as me thoroughly showcased to me that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life."

Millikin students who participated in the competition included: Taylor Lindemann, a first-year theatre major from Oak Lawn, Ill., John Tasch, a sophomore philosophy major from Roselle, Ill., Joshua Rose, a senior philosophy major from Saint Jacob, Ill., Taylor Godwin, a junior political science major from Hillsboro, Ill., Nick Roberson, a senior political science major from East Troy, Wis., Alex Brase, a junior mathematics major from Decatur, Ill., Hannah Serbe, a sophomore philosophy major from Decatur, Ill., Victoria Jackson, a senior psychology major from Chicago, and McKensie Meadows, a junior philosophy major from Decatur, Ill.

Burress added, "I learned a lot about myself as a person and a scholar during Moot Court. I learned a lot about the skills I possess and the skills I need to work on that will help me in my educational pursuits at Millikin and in law school."


In addition to the Moot Court competition, the MIG simulation featured a Legislature Simulation where students are assigned political parties and districts and placed in committees of their particular interests. The legislators simulated the legislative processes in the actual committee rooms and chambers of the Capitol building.

Millikin University brought 10 delegates to this year's MIG Legislature Simulation. Aaron Thomas, a junior political science major from Orland Park, Ill., was re-elected to the executive board, this time as the Attorney General of Model Illinois Government. As Attorney General, Thomas will be in charge of original legislation for the simulation, as well as running the MIG Journal.

"Working at the Capital has always been a great learning experience," said Thomas. "I think Model Illinois Government is a perfect example of what students need in terms of getting involved with politics, and understanding what it means to get bills passed that affect our everyday lives." 

Students Courtney Woelfel, a sophomore political science major from Jerseyville, Ill., and Abby Beaty, a junior political science major from Nokomis, Ill., submitted original legislation to the simulation and their original legislation was debated in committee.

"I was incredibly impressed with the poise and confidence of our students, both in committee action and in floor debate," said Amber Lusvardi, Millikin lecturer of political science. "Their ability to speak passionately and in-depth on a range of government issues was inspiring to me as their faculty advisor."

Millikin students who participated in the Legislature Simulation included: Paige Ehrat, a junior communication major from Shobonier, Ill., Jessica Bird, a senior political science major from Chicago, Karen Padilla, a first-year political science major from Chicago, Colten Watrous, a first-year political science major from Decatur, Ill., Jenny Zima, a junior political science major from Greenfield, Wis., Taylor Morthland, a senior political science major from Decatur, Ill., and Kate Wrigley, a junior political science major from Decatur, Ill.

For more information on Model Illinois Government, visit
Dr. Florence Folami, Millikin University associate professor of nursing, and her husband Blessing Adeoye, have established Cross of Christ Ministries in their home country of Nigeria, beginning with a church in 2006 and continuing with a 10-bed hospital last spring to provide a preferential healthcare option for the poor.

Adeoye moved back to Nigeria to help lead the church and Dr. Folami leads the health center while teaching at Millikin. The couple also plans to open an orphanage this summer.

Elevated mortality rates and the lack of access to quality care make the healthcare system in Nigeria a global concern. Based in Akute, Nigeria, Cross of Christ Health Center provides an array of coordinated services to improve overall well-being and life circumstances.

Click here to read the Herald & Review's article on how Dr. Folami and her husband are making an impact in Nigeria.
Millikin University students took part in several service projects throughout the local community as part of Millikin's alternative spring break, March 10-13. The alternative spring break activities were organized through Millikin University's Career Center and AmeriCorps VISTA.

Students engaged in a different activity each day, such as helping serve food to Decatur residents at Northeast Community Fund, organizing and serving food at the AMELCA Food Pantry, cleaning the inside of the James Millikin Homestead, and helping set-up for a MobilePack at St. Paul's Lutheran Church for Feed My Starving Children.

Click here to read the Herald & Review's article on the service work Millikin students engaged in during this year's alternative spring break.

The Decaturian, Millikin University's student newspaper, was honored at the Illinois College Press Association (ICPA) annual convention held Feb. 20-21 in Chicago. The Decaturian received third place honors for General Excellence in the division for non-dailies with a circulation of less than 4,000.

Comments from reviewers of The Decaturian included, "This is a newspaper staff that is shooting for excellence and is well on its way. The stories certainly catered to the audience and covered a wide range of issues. The newspaper has a solid design and good overall reporting."

The General Excellence Award is based on a random pull of papers, using three specific dates over the course of the past year. The third place finish was Millikin's highest finish since 2002 when the paper finished first. Millikin received honorable mention honors in 2007.

"I'm extremely proud of the students," said Dr. Scott Lambert, Decaturian faculty advisor and Millikin professor of English. "They've worked hard and it's nice to see the students earn recognition for their efforts."

The ICPA honors the best college newspapers in the state of Illinois. Over 30 daily and weekly college newspapers competed at this year's convention. Entries from spring and fall 2014 were recognized.

"This is a huge achievement for our staff," said Morgan Ewald, Decaturian editor and a senior English writing major from Mount Carmel, Ill. "We have been actively working for the past three years to improve our paper, and winning this award has shown us that our hard work is paying off."

Receiving second place honors for Feature Photo was Xin Zhao, a senior studio art major from Oreana, Ill.

Ewald added, "I am extremely proud of The Decaturian staff members. They have all worked very hard to help achieve the goals of improving the newspaper. I think we have a product that we can be proud of, and winning third place in General Excellence is really encouraging to the staff to keep going."

The Decaturian was established in 1903 and is published during the academic year by students of Millikin University. For more information on The Decaturian, visit
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL