Class of 1985 alumna Carol McMillin’s Ursinus story began years before the notion of enrolling as a student was even a consideration.
A Collegeville native, her family’s home sat directly across the street from Sprankle Hall. “My father also worked in the facilities department for most of my childhood. I spent a lot of time on the campus riding my bike or walking to Trappe to get the bus to Schwenksville,” McMillin said.
Several years later, she became reacquainted with the campus that she once thought of as a second home. McMillin transferred to the college as a chemistry major and, like many Ursinus students, she partook in research endeavors while pursuing her studies. She elaborates, “I transferred my junior year to Ursinus and was warmly welcomed by faculty, staff and students. I still maintain a close relationship with the chemistry department today as an alumna as well as through my current role.”
While working as the chemistry laboratory manager, she gained invaluable experience and a deeper appreciation for the world of environmental health and safety management. McMillin credits her liberal arts education with providing the ability to adjust to change and constantly enhancing her existing knowledge. In fact, the facilities director at the time asked her to take on a new responsibility of handling the hazardous waste disposal for the college. Because of her willingness to adapt, she accepted the challenge and dove deep into unknown territory. This experience eventually prompted McMillin to pursue a master’s degree in environmental protection & safety management from Saint Joseph’s University while working full-time as the Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator. In 2014, she moved into her current full-time position as the environmental health and safety/risk manager for Ursinus.
McMillin certainly has a unique perspective of the college, having watched it grow and evolve for decades as an alumna and a member of the staff ranks. She has witnessed her fair share of change, much of which has been to the aesthetics of the campus. She explains, “The most positive campus changes have been the number of new buildings. I had the privilege of working as the chemistry laboratory manager during the latter part of the Pfahler Hall renovations in the late 1990s.” McMillin emphatically states, “The transformation was amazing going from institutional green lab cabinets, outdated plumbing and ventilation and a freight elevator to bright, up-to-date laboratories and a new, modern elevator.”
McMillin has been pleased with Ursinus’s transformations to date and understands the important role that she plays in promoting these positive developments. She has been a longtime supporter of the Annual Fund, which benefits all aspects of the college, including campus maintenance, facilities, technologies, academic and extracurricular programming, financial aid, athletics and more. She says, “It’s important to contribute, no matter how small the donation, in order to continue to move the college forward, to support those who want to attend Ursinus but can’t financially and to continue to support current and future programs.”
When asked what she cherishes the most about the college, McMillin concludes, “Ursinus is a great big family. No matter our differences, we all step up to the plate to help when needed, even if it’s not part of our daily job responsibilities.”
On so many levels, the college is fortunate to have McMillin as a part of its Bear family.