Millikin’s traditional ceremony for students will be
on Sunday, May 18 at 2 p.m. at the Decatur Civic Center. Millikin
will host a ceremony for graduates of its Professional Adult
Comprehensive Education (PACE) Program and Master of Business
Administration (MBA) Program on Saturday, May 17 at 7 p.m. in
Kirkland Fine Arts Center. Tickets are required for admission to
The ceremony on Sunday, May 18 will mark the graduation of
approximately 350 students. Theatre and Dance’s own Shawn Lent ’00
will return to the Big Blue to serve as the 2014 Commencement
speaker. The ceremony will also include remarks by student Elise F.
Scannell of Jerseyville, Ill., selected by her fellow classmates to
address the graduating class.
Lent created her own job title: social practice dance artist and
manager. Trained as a professional dancer, it was her passion to
help others that ultimately led Lent to find her calling beyond the
stage and to opportunities that have taken her around the world.
Combining dance with her desire to bring social change and reform,
Lent has used her talent to unify cultures, provide recreational
therapy and bring smiles to those in need.
From 2001 to 2003, Lent worked as a dance critic and youth worker in
a predominantly-Muslim community in East London, England. As a youth
and community development worker at Froud Community Centre, Lent
spearheaded art festivals and music and tolerance workshops. She
also secured funding for community-based film projects and
job-readiness programs for youth offenders and served as a youth
worker for crime prevention initiatives.
Lent returned to the U.S. in 2003, taking on several positions that
combined both her interests, including serving as arts integration
program specialist for the Center of Community Arts Partnerships at
Columbia College in Chicago from 2006 to 2012. She was one of only
12 North American and European leaders selected for the 2010 United
Nations Alliance of Civilizations International Fellowship program.
In May 2011, she was handpicked by representatives of the United
Nations to teach dance in Kevljani, Bosnia-Herzegovina, as part of
the Most Mira “Bridge of Peace” Youth Festival.
Awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant during the 2012-13 academic year,
Lent lectured at the Academy of Arts’ High Institute of Ballet in
Cairo, Egypt. Her project, “Artist as Catalyst,” focused on dance
classes and lectures on community arts theory and the role of
artists in civil society and education. Today, she serves as
EducationUSA coordinator and grant manager at AMIDEAST Cairo and an
instructor for Cairo Contemporary Dance Center. She also founded the
dance program at the 57357 Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt, where
she also volunteers and teaches dance to cancer patients.
Lent was founding chair of the Associates Board for Links Hall,
Chicago’s home for independent dance and performance, and a founding
board member of Donna’s Good Things, a foundation that provides
opportunities for children facing adversity. She has also served on
the Young Associates Board of Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
and Chicago Arts Educators Forum advisory board, and is a member of
the UNESCO International Dance Council (CID) and the British
Council’s Transatlantic Network 2020.
Lent completed a bachelor of fine arts degree in theatre and dance
from Millikin in 2000. She holds a master’s degree in arts
management from Columbia College Chicago and a post-graduate
certificate in professional practice from Goldsmith’s College,
University of London. Lent also writes a personal blog that was
featured in the Arts and Culture section of the Huffington Post
online news website. Her July 2013 post “Am I A Dancer Who Gave Up?”
received more than 140,000 hits and 27,000 likes.
[to top of second column]
The ceremony on Saturday, May 17 will celebrate the
graduation of students earning their bachelor’s degree from Millikin
in one of six academic programs offered in PACE, the accelerated
evening bachelor’s degree program for adults, as well as students
receiving their Master of Business Administration degree from
Millikin. The speaker for the ceremony will be Dr. Randall Rentfro
‘78, associate professor of accounting at The University of Tampa.
The ceremony will also include speeches by PACE student Daniel W.
Hartman of Sherman, Ill., and MBA student Bobbi J. Donath of
Decatur, Ill., also selected by fellow classmates to address the
Dr. Randall Rentfro currently serves on the Board of Trustees of
Millikin University. He graduated from Millikin with a bachelor’s
degree in accounting in 1978, completed his master’s degree in
accountancy at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in
1986, and earned a Ph.D. in business administration (accounting
concentration) at Florida Atlantic University in 2000.
Dr. Rentfro’s teaching and research interests focus on the financial
reporting of corporations and governments and factors that influence
such reporting. Dr. Rentfro’s most recent research activities center
on state and local governments. In 2010, he and two colleagues
received a grant from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB)
to examine the need for disclosures of tax abatement activities by
Dr. Rentfro began his career at Caterpillar Inc. in 1978 and held
various positions until he left to join Decatur Memorial Hospital in
1986 as its controller. In 1990, he began his faculty career at
Millikin as an assistant professor of accounting. He later assumed
the responsibility for being the director of Institutional Research
and Assessment and chair of the Department of Accounting and
Management Information Systems. In 1996, he moved to Florida to join
Florida Atlantic University as a graduate teaching assistant and
research assistant and upon finishing his Ph.D., was promoted to an
assistant professor of accounting. In 2005, he joined Nova
Southeastern University where he taught in the undergraduate and
graduate programs. Dr. Rentfro also chaired four dissertations for
students in the Doctorate of Business Administration Program (DBA)
at NSU. In 2011, he left Nova Southeastern to join The University of
Tampa as an associate professor of accounting.
Dr. Rentfro’s professional work has been recognized with numerous
awards such as the Distinguished Research Award from the Academy of
Marketing Studies, and the 2010 National Author Award from the
Association of Government Accountants. He is a three-time Accounting
Professor of the Year award recipient at Florida Atlantic
For more information on Millikin University’s 2014 Spring
Commencement, please visit