As a young college boy, James
Millikin became aware of the struggles that young people faced in securing
funds to meet college expenses and overcoming the inadequacy of their
preparation for the classes they entered. Then and there, only twenty years
of age, he made the vow that if ever became wealthy, he would found an
institution of learning in which all classes of youth could secure an
education, regardless of what occupation they might desire.
After establishing one of the
most successful banks in Illinois, James Millikin wanted to pursue his
dream. He offered the City of Decatur a large tract of land known as Oakland
Park and $200,000 for a school if the people of Decatur would donate
$100,000 toward the project. The local businessmen knowing that this would
be good for Decatur, wasted no time in raising the money. Millikin was also
approached by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, of which he was a member
to affiliate his school with the church. James Millikin agreed to do so with
a few exceptions. One of his stipulations was, however, that the school
should not be narrowly sectarian, but that it should be conducted on a broad
plane in which all would be treated alike, regardless of sect or creed.
On June 4,1903, a glorious day
for Decatur, President Theodore Roosevelt delivered the dedicatory address
for the new James Millikin University. And, on September 15, 1903, this
prestigious University opened its doors to 562 students. Throughout the
years, the University has grown and today the enrollment is approximately
1.700 students of all classes, creed, or sect living the dream of its
founder, James Millikin.
The collectibles designed by
The Glass House show a view of Shilling Hall (formerly Liberal Arts Hall) to
represent the spirit of Millikin University.
Decatur Millikin University Collectibles and Gifts