Vibrant Genius: Vicky Gilpin

Vibrant Genius: Vicky Gilpin

Photo by Alex Kennedy

For women’s history month I nominate Vicky Gilpin. Her influence reaches from Harvard University to Cerro Gordo High School. Professor Gilpin is not considered a full-time professor but an adjunct at Millikin University, teaching the Long-Vanderburg Scholars and a Critical Reading and Writing class.

For many, Dr. Gilpin is indescribable, for those who do not know the name, you will recognize her various outfits. Gilpin can be spotted on campus wearing a striped fedora, a dark-colored dress, and a colorful t-shirt to top it off.

However, Gilpin’s outfits are only the surface of her identity. Gilpin has received doctorates in education and leadership, a master’s in teaching and learning with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction, along with a bachelor’s in English and theater. Dr. Gilpin uses each of her degrees daily from teaching English at Harvard University, running the drama department at Cerro Gordo High School, leading classrooms at Millikin, and publishing novels/articles in her free time.

When she is not attending conferences and bustling around campus, most can find her talking about vampires or enjoying the unique culture at Millikin. I asked Chris Hoving, a former student of Cerro Gordo High School (now Millikin Freshman), what her opinion was of our on-campus phenomenon.

Before the questions began, the mention of Vicky Gilpin seemed to spread joy across the student’s face, recalling a memory of not knowing what to call professor Gilpin, because of her many accomplishments leading to the class referring to her as “Dr. Professor Mrs. Gilpin.” Hoving described Gilpin as a breath of needed fresh air in the small town. She is “completely comfortable doing her own thing especially in central Illinois,” Hoving said.

During this time of “doing her own thing,” Dr. Gilpin has written several publications of her own and reviews upon others’ research. Recently, a work of Gilpin’s has been highlighted by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English (IATE). Her work was published ten years ago under the English bulletin.

In Gilpin’s own words, she exclaims that a compelling aspect of Millikin is how “students are enabled to discover who they really are and encouraged to express themselves” in creative outlets. Although flamboyant with her topics, Dr. Gilpin’s conversations always intellectual and enthusiastic.

Many students around campus may have heard about the Long-Vanderburg Scholarship. The LV program, uplifts diversity, leadership, and social action within its participants. Gilpin was chosen to lead the freshman classes of the Long-Vanderburg class, setting their foundations and giving the scholars the base to move forward.

“Gilpin is the person you talk to if you want to have an intellectual conversation…you can sit and talk with her for hours and not lose interest,” Tonya Hines, director of the Long-Vanderburg Program, said. With only “great things to say,” Hines emphasized Gilpin’s connection to Millikin and next-level intelligence. Hines is grateful Gilpin was recommended for the Long-Vanderburg program, and she loves Gilpin’s “eclectic style.”

Dr. Gilpin is an extraordinary woman. She is the embodiment of empowerment and holds herself accordingly, with her many classes and publications and we should all attempt to follow the example Dr. Gilpin has created. To follow our interests, without hesitation and no question towards what is considered the social norm, accept everyone for who they may be or want to become, and fight against those who try to oppress you or others down.

Gilpin strives for these three principals every day and I believe that makes her close to a superhero, one that Millikin does not deserve but needs.

I encourage those who may notice her around campus to introduce yourselves and attempt to have a conversation with Dr. Gilpin. Although she is busy and the conversation may be short-lived, we all should meet with this exceptional scholar.