More Changes to Millikin

Emily Chudzik, News Editor

There have been a number of significant changes happening at Millikin University this past semester. It seems like nearly everything is being renovated, including the structure of administration.

A few weeks ago, President Patrick White sent out an email explaining two big changes within administration. It may not feel like a direct impact on students, but the changes are important, and it’s all in the name of building a better Millikin.

Sarah Shupenus, formerly the Interim Vice President of Enrollment, is now the new Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing. “I’m very excited for this change,” President White said. “She has been with us for seventeen years, so she has a lot of experience.”

This is almost the same as her former position, minus athletics. Enrollment, in past years, had marketing, admissions, student life and athletics reporting to it. It will continue to have marketing, admissions and student life report to it. “Marketing” was added to the title to emphasize its importance as it relates to future student enrollment. She also has several projects going forward, one focusing specifically on the university’s website.

“Trying to find information on the website is a little difficult. We need to rethink our web structure and our presentation. Sarah will be leading a team for that,” White said.

The second large change is that Craig White, director of athletics, will now directly report to the President, and is a member of the cabinet.

“I am particularly excited about this. The reason I did this is because athletics is important to enrollment, but it also has importance to the larger life of Millikin, including development, fundraising, student learning, and our entire livelihood and life at the university. And on top of that, Sarah has an awful lot of work to do with enrollment and marketing, so that’s why I changed the reporting line,” White said.

Having alumni connect to the university is absolutely essential. There are various ways to accomplish that goal, especially through the use of athletics.

“Alumni can connect through their former sports team. In January, there is going to be a reunion for the National Women’s Basketball champions from ten years ago,” President White said. “[Craig] White has been here for three years. He is leading athletic operations in a good and strong way. It is important to work closely with him in development, alumni relations, planning, and the future of the university.”

One of Millikin’s larger goals is to increase the percentage of alumni who give money to the university. Currently, 10  percent of alumni give back, which is the national average.

“But we don’t want to be average. We should be better than that,” President White said.

The highest percentage of alumni that give back is somewhere between forty and fifty percent, and has never reached higher than sixty percent.

“Some alumni will never give back, but just think of what we could do if we increase the number. We would be amazing,” White said.

A large source of pride for Millikin comes from its theater department, but President White wants to see that pride throughout the entire school. A way to get more students excited and take pride in their school is through athletics.

“Craig White is aware that our sports teams need to get better. We need to get more pumped up. Of course, winning isn’t everything, but it is important. I’m not going to tell you it’s not. We need to perform at a level that makes our university proud,” White said.

School pride could also potentially help lower the rate of students that transfer. “We do better work when we’re excited. Everyone is really excited in the fall semester, and then spring semester rolls around, and it’s a dull time. People are thinking, ‘I’d be much happier if I was somewhere else.’ Maybe we need something like a February Frenzy to get pumped up,” White said.

“We have been having a really good year compared to last year,” President White said. “Things are humming along. We have some challenges, but things are really going well at Millikin now.”

These may seem like some lofty goals, but they are completely attainable if the entire university comes together to build a better Millikin.