Professor Spotlight: Mark and Jenny Samples

Hunter Soyak, Staff Writer

It’s always sad to see well-respected faculty depart from Millikin University. This year, Mark Samples, assistant professor of music, teacher of music history and ethnomusicology, along with wife, Jenny Samples—director of vocal jazz group, Blubop—are finishing up their last semester at Millikin as they embark on a new part of their lives.

In an interview with the Samples duo, along with their adorable kids, they share their stories on how their music interests started as well as their favorite memories here at Millikin.

Jenny’s interest began when she received a microsony that she would take with her everywhere. Mark’s interest really peaked in college when he chose to take courses and fully commit to studying music. He was also in a band that toured in San Diego, but Mark left it to pursue other dreams.

The Samples enjoyed being in the music program and it has given them some of the best memories. Jenny enjoys hearing the senior songs. She loves seeing how far students have come. Mark loves seeing his students work on their passions.

“Most students who come to Millikin do not plan on studying music history,” Mark said. “So I often get to see my students working outside of the classroom, doing what they love whether it be performing or working in the studio. It’s awesome seeing them out of the classroom element. It fills me with pride to see what my students are capable of.”

The Samples will be finishing up this semester before they continue their lives in Washington. Mark will be the assistant professor of music at Central Washington University where he will continue teaching music history as well as Jazz and popular music.

Mark plans on keeping his professional relationships with Millikin strong. Jenny wants to focus on family for now, but she will definitely be singing somewhere.

Jenny and Mark would also like to give the Millikin students some advice for their upcoming years.

“College is what you make it. What you put into it is what you get out of it. The more you try and the more you do, the more you will enjoy it and grow,” Jenny said.

“Millikin is a great place for opportunities especially in the music field,” Mark said. “All I can say is take every opportunity given to you. You never know which one will lead to much better and bigger things. It is the people you know and collaborate with that will give you that opportunity. So pay attention to who you meet.”

Millikin students would love to give the Samples the best of luck on the new road ahead of them. It has been a pleasure having them both here and Millikin hopes they keep up the amazing work.