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Luke McMillan
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Luke McMillan

Graduation year: 2021

High school: Moline High School

Hometown: Moline, Ill.

Major: Music education – instrumental

Activities: Augustana Symphonic Band, Augustana Jazz Ensemble, Augustana Symphonic Orchestra

Internships: Student teaching at United Township High School and Eagle Ridge School

Post-grad plans: I will be a middle school band director in the Chicago suburbs.

Why Augustana?

Although I had always dreamed of going to a larger school, I felt incredibly at peace when I visited Augustana. I realized that what I truly needed in an education was individual attention and a place where I was accepted and cared for by my peers and faculty.

Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?

I do believe that I am reaching the goals that I set out for myself at the beginning of my Augustana journey. However, Augustana helped me go far beyond those goals and grow both as a person and a critical thinker. I am astounded by the distinct change between who I was four years ago and who I am now.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

Dr. Farmer, my amazing major advisor, helped me realize my true potential as an educator and a musician. She is a shining example of a teacher who is both excellent in her field and cares deeply about her students. I aspire to be half the teacher that she is.

Dr. Lambrecht, co-chair of the music department, pushed me to be the best musician that I could be. He saw my potential early on and helped me expound upon that potential so that I could fully grow into the person that I am today.

Dr. Keehn, my private lesson teacher, showed me what it takes to become the best version of myself. She taught me about the world while skillfully teaching me about my instrument.

Liam Russell, my best friend, helped me get through some of the hardest moments in college. He epitomizes what it means to be a great friend and has shown me how to think about the world through multiple perspectives.

All of my fantastic Augustana Symphonic Band (ASB) family, who have showered me in nonstop support throughout my entire time here.

Peak experience?

My peak experience was the ASB's California tour my freshman year. On this incredible trip, I made some of my best friends, shared amazing music with a plethora of audiences, and had experiences that I will remember for my entire life.

This trip showed me that family exists wherever we make it. I will forever be grateful for the extraordinary opportunity to make music and memories with a family that supports me through anything.

What surprised you?

I was surprised by the love and support I was given by both the students and staff at Augie. A sense of belonging was something that I was sorely missing before starting college, so I was genuinely surprised by how quickly I began to feel accepted and appreciated for who I was, rather than who people wanted me to be.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to assist me through my student teaching experience. The funds went toward travel expenses, food, rent and professional attire.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss going to band every day with my friends. ASB has become the highlight of my day every day because making music is such an enriching activity that allows me to reflect and think about my feelings and emotions.

Advice for the Class of 2025?

Cherish your moments in college by documenting memories and intentionally reflecting on the events that make you a better person. As everyone says, four years go by quickly if you are not careful. Take the time to think about and remember the things that most strongly impact you.

"Luke is a student who has taken advantage of the opportunities presented to him, and from those experiences developed potential to be an incredible music teacher. The other music teachers in our community who have worked with Luke have commented on his professionalism and preparedness, which is a huge compliment! I am excited to see what Luke does in his own future classroom, and how he shares his love of music-making with others."

– Dr. Dawn Farmer, assistant professor, music education