After months of waiting, the Workman Baseball Field is officially done and ready for baseball players to be on.
The newest facility on Millikin’s campus was scheduled to be completed last school year for Millikin’s baseball team to use. Due to weather, the field was not ready and has taken the last few months to complete and finish.
Although it would have been nice for last season to be played on the new field, perhaps the actual unveiling of the field was a little more special.
Among the many events Millikin puts on during homecoming week, the ceremony for the field made the list as a big event for Millikin’s 2019 homecoming weekend. The stands were almost completely filled. Alumnus, softball players, other athletes, and faculty, among many others, were in attendance for the unveiling of the field. Athletic Director Craig White began the ceremony with a speech.
“Think of what the kindness of these great families has done,” Director White said. “Thousands of memories that will take place here is because of what they did, and that’s cool.” The crowd chucked.
President of Millikin University, Patrick White, gave a much longer speech on what else the new field means for the university.
“It means so much to our university, and of course to our baseball family,” President White said. “This is a great day for Millikin athletics and for Millikin University. In the Millikin model for performance learning, athletics has become an integral part of who we are and how we educate all of our students.”
President White also talked about what athletes experience at Millikin.
“At Millikin, more than 50% of our students participate in Division Three Intervarisity Competition or intermural sports and activities,” President White said. “The athlete experience is a vital part of the Millikin experience. The athletic facilities are so important, not only for our sports programs, but to who we are, and who we can become at Millikin. We want the best for our students, not just because we’re nice, because we know that to perform at their best and to learn at their best, students need quality facilities in every area.”
President White went on to boast about how great Millikin’s newest facility is.
“To make this among the finest baseball facilities, not in central Illinois, not even in the CCIW – that’s an easy challenge,” President White said. “But this is one of the finest baseball facilities in Division Three [athletics].”
He also considered the future and the effect that the baseball field will have on the community.
“[T]his is a great day for Millikin athletics, for Millikin University,” President White said. “I should also say this is a great day for the city of Decatur, as this new field will attract more fans, more visitors, more interests, more sense of pride in who we are. We are all looking forward to calling this new facility home, and, in the spring, watch our talented student athletes continue to make the Big Blue community proud.”
After President White was finished, just like any other opening, the ribbon cutting followed to make it official.
And of course, there had to be a first pitch. The first pitches were thrown by Millikin Trustee Tom Harrington, Millikin Emeritus Trustee Bob Staley, and Millikin University Emeritus Trustee Gary Workman and his wife, Judy Workman.
The Workman Family Baseball Field is located south of the Decatur Indoor Sports Center (DISC). It includes an all-artificial turf field, lights, press box, concessions, and batting cages.
Millikin University is the only school in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) with an on-campus baseball-only facility with a full turf field and a clubhouse, according to Millikin University’s press release.
None of this would be possible without those who worked on the field and the donors of Millikin University. The $5.4 million field was made into a reality with the $4 million contribution from the Workman family. Generous gifts from Mark and Bob Staley, Tom Harrington and his wife Cordia, as well as the estate of Millikin Emeritus Trustee Frank Tyrolt also made the field possible.