Brian Mcmillen Scholarship Created

On October 28, 2007, central Illinois, and the UIS alumni community—especially alumni from the Criminal Justice department—lost an important member of their community. Brian McMillen, an Illinois State trooper, was killed on this day. He was on his way to assist a fellow officer when his squad car was hit by two vehicles, both driven by allegedly drunk drivers.

To remember and honor Brian’s life and the many fine qualities he embodied, the Criminal Justice Department at UIS is creating an endowed scholarship in his name for Criminal Justice majors.

Brian came to UIS as a transfer student in 2004. By the time he completed his degree in December 2005, he’d shown himself to be a leader with integrity, willing to listen and think critically about his role as a police officer. During his time at UIS:

• Brian made the Dean’s List twice.
• He contributed as a member to UIS’ chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the national criminal justice honor society.
• He completed an internship with the Illinois Attorney General’s Investigative Unit.
• He received the Avery Brundage Scholarship, given to students “who are both gifted students and exceptional athletes, for their combined physical and mental development.”
• He was named the Champion of Character by the UIS men’s basketball team during his senior year.

While at UIS, Brian continued to serve in the Illinois Air National Guard. He and his unit were posted to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Following graduation, Brian joined the Illinois Police Cadet class #113, where he served as class president. He graduated at the top of his class and joined the Illinois State Police in 2007. Less than a year later, Brian was killed in the line of duty.

Clearly, Brian was a gifted leader, dedicated to service, but he was also an excellent student. The Criminal Justice Department at UIS, and its predecessor the Social Justice Professions Program, has always encouraged students to think critically about their role in the community, no matter what profession CRJ students plan to enter, and to weigh their choices carefully and act deliberately for the good of all.

According to Ryan Williams, criminal justice department professor at UIS, Brian met the challenge of thinking this way: “Brian was what all of the CRJ faculty believed a police officer could and should be. He showed how a university education helps a person become a better police officer and provide better service to society. He was the kind of person who gave us all more confidence in the system we study, knowing he was out there playing an important part in it.”

This is the kind of person Brian was—thoughtful and deliberate, combining leadership with learning, dedication to duty with a willingness to think critically about his role in the community. We want to honor him with an endowed scholarship fund, and we are asking you to add to that fund through your gifts. We believe that a scholarship fund for other criminal justice students will be a perfect remembrance of Brian’s life. And, we’ll be able to help in the education of more UIS students who are following in Brian’s, and your, footsteps.

Warm regards,
Beverly D. Rivera, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair, Criminal Justice