Millikin University is showing how a search for a new leader should be conducted.

Input is being collected from the Millikin community and the public about what qualities people would like in the to-be-hired 16th president.

This is an important moment for the school -- as well as for Decatur.

Patrick White, who is retiring as president in 2020, shepherded the private institution through a period of remarkable growth since he came in 2013.

The campus had added the University Commons, among many other projects, and the Center for Theatre and Dance is rising. The Workman Family Softball Field is an eye-catching addition, as will the Workman Family Baseball Field be. The Transform MU capital campaign has brought in a new era for the school. The athletics program has grown. And they continue to be committed to academic excellence.

White is a highly visible figure in our community, almost always wearing his Millikin hat. He is a booster of both the university and our community.

He announced his retirement in February in part to give a long glide path to his departure and the arrival of the next president. It also allows decision-makers plenty of time to find the right person who can carry Millikin forward.

The search committee is holding listening sessions this week and created a form for submitting suggestions, at millikin.edu/presidential-search-community-input. That feedback will give the committee an idea about what they should look for.

We take special interest in who gets hired because Millikin is a crucial part of the Decatur community. It's an employer, an economic generator and a source of creativity where new ideas and solutions bubble up. Students and staff come and stay.

There is forward momentum that needs to continue.

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