Get to Know Century College’s New President: Angelia Millender

Vladimir Cruz | Editor-in-Chief

Christopher Juhn | Photographer

As of July 1, 2017, Angelia Millender has officially started her term here as Century College’s new president, and is excited as well as committed in leading Century College to helping students better succeed.

Patrick Opatz, who was formerly interim president for the past 2 years was more than ecstatic to pass on the presidency to a very capable candidate. There have been president searches in the past, but none of them quite fit what Century College had in mind for the future.

Century’s own Academic Affairs Dean Jesse Mason, states, “Millender’s experience exemplifies the qualities he was looking for during the search process including outstanding leadership skills, a history of championing equity and diversity, and a strong ability to advocate for the College’s students and employees.”

Mason adds, “In addition to her understanding of the core needs of the College’s students and employees, she brings a wealth of experience and accomplishments that will enhance our College, community, and state.”

Before going on her journey to the path of education, Millender had some early aspirations. She explains that, “Early on during high school I had two thoughts in my mind. It was to either be a teacher or to be a nurse.” Millender would go on to get a full ride scholarship in education.

“When you get a scholarship opportunity it either defines or refines your focus,” she adds.

Millender earned a bachelor from Chicago State University, as well as earning a master’s degree from National Louis University, getting an undergraduate in teacher education, and a graduate degree in management and human resources.

She describes, “I ended up teaching for Chicago public schools, and that is where I define my passion for open access institutions to help students get access to education who would normally not be able to get access to education and it defined who I am today.”

Millender has worked for Olive-Harvey College in Illinois, Broward College in Florida, Berkeley College in New York, and Robert Morris University in Ohio.

Millender is all about meeting all students with and making her work environment as comfortable and fun as possible. During Welcome Week, here at Century, Millender could be seen enjoying some with Vice President Joyce Coleman while engaging with current and new students.

Photo Credit: Christopher Juhn

Millender believes that, “presidents and all leaders should be present, they should be accessible, and they should be willing allow people to get to know them. I plan to spend a lot of time with the students and showing up for their events and allowing them to come talk to me; so, they know I’m committed in helping them to succeed. That’s the only reason I’m here. I’m not here to sit in a chair and sit in an office to where the title is just president. It’s about doing the work, and being accessible. “

Millender knows that there is a time to celebrate and have fun, but there is also a time to get down to business and help students here at Century have a solid focus and goals. She emphasizes that, “every day I come and I’m excited about the opportunity to provide leadership and talk to my team about what I can do to help students to succeed and understand them better. Put processes and procedures in place to make our transitions through higher education much more seamlessly.”

In a previous interview with Christine Osorio, Superintendent of MN school district 622, Christine describes that, “President Millender brings a strong passion for strengthening this connection and ensuring students get an early start with college and technical career pathways – She understands how our institutions must work together to ensure seamless and successful transitions.”

Not everything during college for students is easy if they don’t have the right support needed to move forward with their aspirations. Millender knows that, and comments, “Everyday life may throw you a curve ball, but the most important thing is to have a vision and a plan just in case the road goes to the left you know you have to get it to go back to the right. We’ve all been there.”

That is where Millender believes that faculty at any institution should be easily accessible to students.

“I don’t want our students to ever give up. Dreams are achievable for those who seek it, and opportunities can be realized for those who work hard at it. I believe that is in the soul and the mind of each student that says, ‘I want to go to school’. They also must realize that there is a lot of work, perseverance, and especially a lot of ‘I need to ask for help.’”

Help can be hard to ask for, but Millender wants to remove that uneasy feeling of asking for help and states that institution, “have to fill a comfort, and you have to fill a connection because if it doesn’t feel right students aren’t going to stay.”

One thing Millender really wants Century College students to know is that she is, very passionate in her work. She is here to be an advocate for students. She does whatever it takes to keep students moving forward and helping them get through college an easy process. “I’ll probable wear myself out trying to make sure everything works for them. We can’t ever lose sight of that. It’s not about us, it’s about the work we do. If I had to be tired, this is a good thing to be tired for. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe that to be true,” she adds.