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Randy Mills - Professor of the Social Sciences

When Oakland City University students go to see Dr. Randy Mills in his office in the restored Cockrum Hall building on the wooded university campus, they may chance to meet a ghost, or so local lore would have it. Cockrum Hall has long been rumored to be haunted. Dr. Mills is undaunted by these stories. “I’ve not seen Colonel Cockrum, or his wife, Lucretia, yet,” Dr. Mills, who teaches survey and advanced history courses, noted.. “In fact, working in a building with so much history often inspires me.”

Besides teaching, Dr. Mills also edits an academic journal, the Journal for the Liberal Arts and Sciences, which is sponsored by the university, and is actively involved in research and writing about local and regional history. Three of his books tell the stories of local and regional combat veterans. “I think it is important to examine the lives and experiences of the common-everyday people,” Dr. Mills noted in a recent newspaper interview. While carrying out his own research and writing, Dr. Mills also encourages his students to look for local and regional subjects to research and write about in his advanced history classes. “I believe students will find history more interesting and meaningful when they see that important historical events occurred in their own back yard or that some of our local people have participated in major historical events. Some of the pieces students have come up with and written about in my classes have been of publishable quality.”

Dr. Mills has also written a number of interesting, and sometimes humorous, articles regarding history in the region. “One of my favorite writing endeavors was an article about a petrified man hoax carried out in Evansville in the early 1900s. It had a Mark Twain vibe to it.” Concerning the ghosts of Cockrum Hall, Dr. Mills is considering writing a book about the Cockrum family, including “the reasons for all the ghost stories.”

A 1973 graduate of Oakland City University, Dr. Mills went on to receive a master’s and a doctorial degree from Indiana University. “I feel very grateful that I am able to give back to Oakland City University and its present students many of the things the school gave to me when I attended here. I’m especially excited about working in the social science department, a program of some diversity that may allow graduates to find a wide variety of jobs.”
Dr. Mills can be contacted at rkmills@oak.edu.  

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