Millikin University celebrates former employees at Retirees Brunch

More than 75 former employees and family members were in attendance.

Millikin Retirees

DECATUR, Ill. –  The journey was a long one but well worth it. 

For Dorothy Smith, 97, the trip from her home in Knoxville, Tennessee, back to Millikin University’s campus was a chance to see friends and colleagues again from her more than two decades of service to the University. 

Dorothy, who worked at Millikin for 25 years and retired in 2000, made the journey back to campus to attend the annual Retirees Brunch celebration on Sept. 12. The event was also an opportunity for retirees and current Big Blue staff to connect and celebrate their dedication to Millikin. 

Retirees Brunch

“It is just so wonderful being back and to see everyone. Many people still know me, and it is great to see everyone,” Dorothy said. “The campus looks wonderful, and I love to see how the University has progressed. I try to stay up to date with what happens at Millikin and what happens in the world.” 

Dorothy began her career at Millikin in the Business Office and progressed to Personnel Director at her retirement. 

“I was a stay-at-home mom until my kids got into school, and we lived across the street on Fairview. I came over to see if I could get a job, and they hired me in the business office to just do whatever needed to be done,” Dorothy said. “I went from this to that, and my opportunity came when our payroll clerk was out during payday. I said I would give it a try and see if I could do the payroll, and we got the checks together and we got it done. After that, I kept moving up.”

Retirees Brunch

Making the trip with Dorothy were her children Jim Smith, Scott Smith and Sheila Slimbarski, and all five of Dorothy’s children – Bill, Shelia, Jim, Scott and Eric – are Millikin graduates. 

“All five of us graduated from Millikin and we all have a love for Millikin,” Sheila said. “People come up to my mom and tell them how thankful they were that she had advised them. She was just able to find the right answers.”

Millikin also recognized the long-term employees that recently retired or left Millikin, which included 466 combined years of service:

  • Dr. Michael Brown, Associate Professor, 8/1/2002-7/31/2023
  • Dr. David Burdick, Associate Professor, 8/1/1989-7/31/2023
  • Judith Crowe, Assistant Professor & Director of the Writing Center, 8/1/1998-7/31/2023
  • Marilyn Davis, Chief of Staff & Secretary to the Board of Trustees, 7/8/1991-7/31/2023
  • Ruby James, Vice President of Finance, 7/10/2000-4/15/2023
  • Cindy Landacre, Executive Assistant to the Provost, 2/3/1997-7/31/2023
  • Diane Lane, Director of Human Resources, 9/28/1992-7/31/2023
  • Dr. Daniel Miller, Professor & STEM Recruiting Coordinator, 8/1/1997-7/31/2023
  • Deborah Miller, Administrative Assistant, 8/17/1992-7/31/2023
  • Denise Myers, Professor, 8/1/1991-7/31/2023
  • Ron Ninmer, Media Services Manager, 5/21/2013-6/30/2023
  • Dr. Michael O'Conner, Associate Professor, 8/1/1996-7/31/2023
  • Dr. Georgette Page, Associate Professor, 8/1/2007-7/31/2023
  • Raphaella Prange, Vice President of Student Affairs, 6/14/1999-6/15/2023
  • Lyle Salmi, Professor, 8/1/1994-7/31/2023
  • Starla Street, Success Coach, 2/13/2004-7/31/2023
  • Vicki Wrigley, Director of Financial Services, 4/23/2007-3/31/2023
  • Mary Zeigler, Executive Assistant, 12/17/2007-7/31/2023
  • Cindie Zelhart, Administrative Assistant & University Studies Coordinator, 8/25/1995-7/31/2023

Millikin has nearly 200 endowed scholarships, funds and awards honoring retired, emeritus and current faculty and staff. Last year, 140 students benefited from these financial opportunities.