College of Business Dean Emerita Dixie Mills retired in 2007 from a 27-year career at Illinois State. In November 2020, a new connection to campus arrived via mail. Dr. Mills received a letter from Luke Seymour, the most recent recipient of the Dixie L. Mills Scholarship.

The scholarship was established by colleagues, alumni, and friends of Mills upon her retirement to reward high-achieving business students like Seymour. He is a freshman majoring in international business with a minor in eastern Asian studies.

Seymour wrote to Mills of his interest in travel and plan to study abroad in Japan. He shared that it had been difficult to become involved in the ISU community due to COVID-19, but that his online classes are already preparing him for success. He also emphasized gratitude for the scholarship created in Mills’ honor.

Dixie L. Mills Scholarship recipient Luke Seymour

“When I found out that I had received this scholarship, I was overjoyed that I had been recognized for my high school achievements,” wrote Seymour. “Receiving this scholarship has definitely alleviated stress on my family, as both of my siblings and I are attending college. With this scholarship, I have been able to focus more on my studies by decreasing the number of hours I work.”

Mills was so impressed by Seymour’s letter that she wrote to College of Business Dean Ajay Samant. “Luke’s letter was so thoughtful and well-written,” she said. “He is focused on international opportunities, understands the importance of interdisciplinary studies and is taking the initiative to prepare himself for it, like many wonderful students I had the opportunity to know when I was on campus.”

Mills began contributing to Illinois State through reoccurring monthly donations. She hoped to offer Illinois State’s student and faculty more than the state’s subsidies provided.

“I increased my monthly contributions over the years as I could afford to give more,” said Mills, who made a pledge to the University’s first capital campaign, Redefining “normal,” and another to Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State. The historic second campaign raised $180.9 million for scholarship, leadership, and innovation.

Mills has since focused additional donations on programs that empower faculty to go above and beyond in learning and teaching. “I have such deep respect for the faculty and their dedication,” she said.

“I respect the accomplishments of our alumni, and the talents of our faculty and students. They deserve our support, and I always wish them the best,” said Mills. She is happy to have made a new connection at Illinois State as a result of the letter from Seymour, who remains grateful for the financial support.

“The Dixie L. Mills Scholarship has greatly benefited my family and me,” he said, “and it motivates me to succeed in the future.”

Acts of generosity from private supporters to Illinois State have a positive impact on the giver and the receiver. To learn more about how to become a scholarship donor and connect with the students whose lives you impact, visit or contact a development professional today.