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Family is bedrock for Milligan grad’s future

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (May 8, 2017)—When Michaela Dove walked to class on Milligan College’s campus over the past four years, it wasn’t just a pleasant stroll—or race if she was running late. It was a trip through family history.

When she walked across the stage in Seeger Chapel during Saturday’s commencement, Dove estimates that she is now the 15th member of her family to graduate or attend Milligan. They include her parents and both sets of grandparents (who all met their spouses at Milligan); her aunt Kristal Dove, who is on the business faculty; several more uncles and aunts; and cousins currently attending and on the way.

“It makes me proud to have that kind of legacy,” said Dove, who’s from Derwood, Maryland. “I love the fact that there’s so much family history here. I was by the creek the other day thinking about how when my grandmother and great aunt were little—when her father, Donald Sahli, was academic dean—they would play in the creek and catch craw dads.”

The bedrock of Dove’s Milligan experience has been about family—but not just blood connections.

“To me Milligan is all about the community,” she said. “Professors care about you and your future and invite you to their house. Students care about each other. The college has always been more than just a school and more than just academic learning.”

The personal attention Dove received from her professors was especially evident as the first graduate of Milligan’s social work major.

“The great thing about the program is it teaches you a new way to think,” said Dove, who also worked for Milligan’s L.I.N.C. (Linking Individuals to the Needs of the Community) program and was active in many areas of community service on campus. “It really humbles you and gives you a new perspective on poverty and different kinds of suffering.”

Dove plans to pursue a job in the very broad and in-demand field of social work, either in refugee resettlement or special needs case management. She eventually hopes to pursue graduate school.

“Milligan definitely taught me to be a better servant-leader and what it means to have service be a way of life,” she said.


MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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