For what seems like the first time in months, the Millikin community has received good news. The Board of Trustees elected interim president Dr. Patrick White as the institution’s full time president. The search for number 15 has come to an end. White’s full time position was put into effect immediately.
Let’s be real, last year was more than a hot mess – it was a fiasco. Not only did Dr. Harold Jeffcoat resign from the presidency, but several vice presidents and long-term faculty members left or retired. This sparked the beginning of numerous search committees and many students and faculty members began to question the institution’s stability. It was as if Millikin was heading down a dark and confusing path.
I personally believe that the Board of Trustees not only made a good choice by electing White, but they made the right choice. White is the kind of person who really values the Millikin mission statement. He also truly cares about student and faculty input and hopes there will be much more collaboration in the future to showcase Millikin’s strengths and greatness.
From the moment White stepped foot on campus, he didn’t act like an interim. By demonstrating excellent leadership within his first 90 days, the Board of Trustees believed that he would continue to be a great leader. White even noticed that many were not treating him like an interim. That must count for something, right? His work ethic, personality and eagerness are only some of the qualities that can contribute to this.
Fortunately, I have not heard any negative remarks or statements about White being elected to be president. Student Senate President Jacqui Rogers said, “I am ecstatic that President White is officially part of the Millikin community. He is fully aware of what challenges he is facing, yet I have faith in him that he will help this university prosper in the years to come.”
There is no doubt that many challenges lie ahead for White, but like Rogers, I have full faith in him. From the moment I met him, we instantly clicked, and, in a way, he reminded me of Jeffcoat. He’s a student’s president. He’s not the kind who will be holed up in his office constantly conducting business. He will be out and about engaging with student life.
“From day one of his interim presidency, President White has been committed and worked hard for this university,” said Dr. Nancy Curtin, chair of the communications department. “ I am confident that President White can lead Millikin to be a stronger university. Millikin students, faculty and staff all deserve to be a part of a strong and thriving university. After a few years of instability and change, we need to move forward under President White’s leadership. I am optimistic and hopeful for Millikin’s future.”
Moving forward is exactly what this institution needs, and like I said before, I have full faith. So, on behalf of myself and many others, welcome aboard President White.