We, the graduating class of the Organizational Leadership program set to graduate on April 28, want to share with you our memories, thoughts and love we have for our classmate and friend, Millicent Morros. To honor her memory, we hijacked our last class to write this article instead of presenting our final projects (our professor said it was OK!).
Millicent leaves us the legacy of being real. Every part of her screamed authenticity and inspired us all to be better people. If you wanted a straight answer about anything, all you had to do was ask Millicent and she’d tell you like it was. The good, the bad, the ugly and even the indifferent.
Many of us felt slightly intimidated by her at the start; her straightforward way of life could come off that way. Rocio Diaz said, “I wanted to tell her that I wish we’d had a relationship like this from the start. I was planning to talk to her at class. I was thinking about her. But I came to school and the dean told me [the bad news].”
Every time we had a new person in class, she’d say, “Who’s the new guy?” Many of our professors engaged with her, and she was definitely a favorite. Her snarky attitude and comments kept us all involved.
She was motivated. She saw the end was in sight, and she was ready for it. When Tom Prinsen, our professor of ethics, asked what we would do on our first Tuesday without class, Millicent’s response was, in not so many words, “Not a thing!”
Heaven forbid you ever call her Millie. The poor bank teller who called her Millie… she didn’t want to correct the teller, but we all knew it was not at all acceptable.
In class, we all shared stories about our lives and experiences, and Millicent owned who she was. You knew she didn’t always like how things had gone in her life, but she knew all of those experiences made her who she was. We saw her grow and blossom, as we all did–growing together to further ourselves.
A favorite class memory for all of us comes from our class with Pat Lehman, who teaches intercultural communication. We all had to present final group projects, and Millicent’s group did their project about India. Their setting was a travel agency, where she and her “husband,” fellow student Gerhard Koehlinger, were asking about the culture and so on. During the presentation, she called him Ger-Bear, a nickname that has stuck, and which he proudly claims.
If we were truly going to channel Millicent, we’d all pop open a Diet Coke, tell you like it is and cackle the night away. The sparkle in her eye was undeniable. She was full of life and love. She touched the lives of all of us in a way we will not forget. As we’ve reminisced and cried, we’ve also laughed a lot. That’s what she would have wanted. At graduation, look for the fuschia roses: we will wear them in her honor. Though she claimed to be a tomboy, she loved pink, and so we will honor her memory.