Millikin Celebrates Graduates by Getting Back to Normalcy

April 1, 2022

Both Millikin students and faculty members are eager to attend in-person commencement ceremonies for the first time since 2019.

On March 22nd, Millikin announced their plan to have the 2022 spring commencement ceremonies in-person on Sunday, May 22.

“I’m excited that it’s in-person. It’s a privilege that we never thought about having before,” senior theater design and production major, Katie Bodlak, said. “I appreciate it more now knowing how easily it can be taken away.”

The university did what it could to provide ceremonies for those who graduated in 2020 and 2021, while still closely following the CDC’s guidelines to social distance and mask mandate. In 2020, commencement was strictly online. While in 2021, it was in-person with strict guidelines to social distance and minimize social interactions.

“I’m thankful to get back to some normalcy and just so we can celebrate you all and your graduation,” Nancy Curtin PhD, professor and chair of the communication department, said. “Hopefully it’ll feel like a culmination of your years.”

Unlike pre-Covid years, the singular ceremony once held at the Decatur Civic Center, will now be two ceremonies held on campus in the Kirkland Fine Arts Center (KFAC).

Moving the location was a two-part decision.

The commencement ceremony split into two presents not only a shorter graduation, but also allows less people in the room at a given time. Additionally, Millikin is able to decrease costs by making use of KFAC instead of renting the Civic Center.

Sydney Sinks, an English writing major, is one of many seniors graduating in May who have growing anticipation for the upcoming commencement ceremonies.

“I didn’t think that it would really matter that much to me,” said Sinks. “But as I’m getting closer to having the celebration, I got a chance to reflect. And no, actually I do want to celebrate this. I do want to have this traditional experience.”

Millikin’s decision to have the ceremony on campus presents a unique experience for its’ graduates. Graduating students who started their journey at Millikin now get a sense of closure and a final goodbye to the university during commencement.

“It feels like a very full circle moment. I remember coming here as a senior in high school,” said Sinks. “And so in a lot of ways, it just feels right to be leaving four years later and having that big life moment here.”

As of March 31st, 351 students have applied to graduate this May, with growing numbers each day. The ceremony for students from the College of Fine Arts and the College of Professional Studies is at 10 AM and students from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Tabor School of Business is scheduled for 3 PM.

“I think it’s cozier and more personal having it on our own campus,” said Curtin. “It gives us more of a sense of collegiality and community.”

Each graduate is allowed up to 6 guests to attend the ceremony. Those who are unable to attend can access a live stream of the ceremony on Millikin’s website.

For more information about Millikin’s spring commencement ceremonies, visit: www.millikin.edu/commencement

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