Brutally Honest: A year of hope, loss and chaos


Brutally Honest: A year of hope, loss and chaos


Denny Patterson

This past year will serve as a reminder that change is constant, and it’s never going to vacate. No matter how much we hate it, it will never go away – but we must realize that change doesn’t only happen here at Millikin, it’s everywhere.

This year, we started out with the passing of one of Millikin’s beloved professors, Dr. Larry Troy. We then learned that the institution’s administration would be transitioning in numerous ways. Rich Dunsworth, Barry Pearson and many others who have served the Millikin community for many years announced their resignations. Second semester didn’t seem to let up. Dr. Harold Jeffcoat retired from the presidency, and Dunsworth took over as interim for 90 days. The institution’s stability went into question, causing concern among students and staff. Student Development is reorganizing, Safety and Security proposed to add armed law enforcement to its staff, Walt Wessel announced his retirement from Registrar and the Board of Trustee chose Dr. Patrick White from Wabash College to take over as interim while a search committee looks for Millikin’s next president.

With that being said, you can’t deny that this was one heck of a year. Most likely more than many bargained for. What felt like an eternity was, realistically, only a short period of time.

To those reading this, I would like you to take a moment to reflect – especially you first years. What did this year mean to you, and what did you learn from it? For me, personally, this year will go down as one of the busiest and most tedious school years I have ever endured. Don’t even think that sleep and food was an option; I could do that while home on break. I might complain, but I regret nothing. This past year opened up a whirlwind of opportunities that I will forever be thankful for.

I was looking through some of last year’s Decaturian issues, and I must say, I was appalled. I didn’t want to believe it, but no wonder Millikin and the Decatur community thought of us as a joke. With the bad writing quality and raunchy content, it made us look less than amateur. The reason I’m bringing this up is because I have grown so much as a writer and journalist this past year. I was able to develop my craft in new ways, and find hidden gems within the journalism world I never thought of giving a chance. In addition, my personal well-being also grew.

When I first started writing for journalism, I was more focused on views and opinions. I wanted to be the uncensored, opinionated jerk that didn’t care what they said. If someone didn’t agree with me, that was too bad. Thinking back on that now, it may work for some, but there was a sense of unprofessionalism with me. Ever have those “what the heck was I thinking” moments? This is totally one of those times. When I started writing for news, I never thought I would love it as much as I do now. I learned how to handle the sensitive issue of death, I learned how to report in an unbiased way of a transitioning cabinet and most importantly, I learned how to build great relationships with the faculty and staff here at Millikin. These are the people that will help you in the long run.

What really puts a smile on my face is when people have approached me to cover a story. To me, that proves that my work isn’t going unnoticed, and I have gained the trust of these people.

This goes out to my senior friends who will be graduating in a couple of weeks – You will never find out your hidden talents unless you give it a try. Your time as an undergrad is done. It doesn’t get any more real than what it is about to become. Some of you will go on to pursue a master degree and some of you will go right in the work force, but no matter what you do, make it memorable.

As I sign off for the last time this semester, I bid you farewell and hope you all have a fantastic summer. Next year will be a whole different game. Either it be good or bad, it will be big.

Until August, my friends.