Millikin raises more than $293,000 during True Blue Challenge & Founder’s Day celebrations

The events celebrated the University’s founding on April 30, 1901.

DECATUR, Ill. – Each spring, Millikin University’s students, alumni, friends, faculty, and staff celebrate the University’s founding when James Millikin gifted 35 acres of land, plus $200,000 to build the institution, on April 30, 1901.

True Blue Challenge

During the founding, James Millikin also challenged members of the Decatur community and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church to match his financial support, which they did. That tradition continues today in the True Blue Challenge, the yearly giving celebration that supports the areas of greatest need across campus. 

The April 2024 True Blue Challenge was a great success, raising $293,000 from 618 donors to support various Millikin’s programs, including scholarships, campus historic preservation and restoration, and student emergency tuition assistance. The University is thankful to our alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and community, who have generously helped Millikin students succeed.

“Our Big Blue community showed up in a big way this True Blue Challenge. From our Trustees who led the way with a $50,000 matching gift to the 40 donors who gave for the very first time- we are so grateful,” Millikin Director of Development Alyse Knust said. “The participation and generosity from so many individuals each year make us proud to be Millikin. Thank you for being True Blue!” 

Founders Day
Actors portraying James and Anna Millikin greet students in the University Commons.

To commemorate the 123rd anniversary of the founding, the day began with a wreath-laying ceremony at James Millikin’s mausoleum at Greenwood Cemetery in Decatur. At the University Commons, actors portraying James and Anna Millikin greeted students, and the Millikin University Choir sang the “Alma Mater” and “Happy Birthday.” 

Millikin University Choir
MIllikin's University Choir performs at the Founder's Day celebration.

The True Blue Challenge makes a meaningful difference for today’s students as the alumni and community members continue their support of the generous legacy that is uniquely Millikin. You can still give to the True Blue Challenge today by visiting for more details.