President White Announces Plans to Retire

Millikin University President Patrick White has announced his upcoming retirement. White will retire on June 30, 2020.

He informed the Board of Trustees of his retirement on February 23, 2019. They are now in the process of planning the search for a new president.

The rest of the Millikin community learned of President White’s plans to retire on February 25.

“I make the announcement at this time to give the Board of Trustees and the University plenty of time to plan for a nationwide search and prepare for a transition in leadership,” President White said in a campus-wide email.

President White has been at Millikin for six years, but he has spent a lifetime in education.

After receiving his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from the University of Iowa in 1980, President White worked as an English professor at Westmar College in Iowa. He then became the chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Pfeiffer College in North Carolina. Following his three years at Pfeiffer College, President White served as a professor and Associate Dean of Faculty at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana before rising to the roles of the Vice President and Dean of Faculty in 2002.

President White then assumed the role of president of Wabash College in Indiana. He stayed at Wabash for seven years.

In July 2013, President White took over as Millikin’s interim president. He was elected to serve as the university’s 15th president a few months later.

In his six years at Millikin, President White has overseen different initiatives, the expansion of Performance Learning, and the construction of multiple new buildings on campus.

“Though Millikin has made significant strides in the last six years toward a new strength and vitality, we have much work to do in the coming months,” President White said in the email.

Ongoing construction of the Center for Theater and Dance and Walkman Family Baseball Field will continue as President White approaches his final months at Millikin. He is also working with the Alumni and Development Office to complete fundraising for Phase I of the Griswold Center renovation.

According to a press release about President White’s retirement that Millikin released on February 25, “Phase I will include building a facility to house six new locker rooms for varsity and junior varsity football, Men’s and Women’s soccer, and Men’s and Women’s track & field and cross country. Phase I also includes a fitness center for the entire campus community as well as classrooms and team meeting spaces.”

The entire press release can be found at

President White’s announcement of his retirement has created a stir in the Millikin community. Many students know President White from the speeches that he gives at university events and the conversations that they have held with him over the years. Throughout campus, he is often recognized by his blue Millikin cap.

However, there is also considerable eagerness to see who will assume the role of president following his retirement. A Presidential Search Committee has formed to begin looking for the person who will take over after President White leaves.

But there is a lot to be done before the new president arrives on campus. While the June 30, 2020 retirement date is fast-approaching, President White still has plenty of time to complete projects and finish his work at Millikin.

“I am very conscious that almost 19% of my presidency lies ahead of me, and I am excited by the hard work we will do together and the good progress we will achieve over the next 16 months,” President White said.

Many are sad to see President White go but excited to learn more about the new president as the search begins. The transition is sure to be interesting, but President White hopes it will be smooth. As he prepares for his retirement, he eagerly anticipates the next few months.

“I look forward to addressing the challenges and opportunities we see before us,” President White said.