Distinguished Alumna
Class of 2017

Cheryl Holaday Hilgenberg

AHS Class of 1966

Dr. Cheryl Holaday Hilgenberg, Professor Emeritus, Millikin University School of Nursing, inspired her students for nearly a quarter century. Her distinguished career left a lasting legacy as an educator specializing in psychiatric nursing and transcultural nursing.

Cheryl Sue Holaday was born February 13, 1948, the first of three children of farming parents Robert W. and Ruth Campbell Holaday. At Arcola High School, she was a member of National Honor Society, class officer, yearbook business manager, Arco-Lite staff member and participated in both Junior and Senior class plays. Cheryl held offices in Student Council, Girls Athletic Association, Future Nurses of America and Band Tri-M. She received the DAR award and was also chosen Miss Mistletoe at the school’s winter dance.

Following her 1966 high school graduation, Cheryl continued her education at Illinois Wesleyan University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Nursing in 1970. She and 1964 AHS graduate Mike Hilgenberg were then married in the Arcola United Methodist Church June 27, 1970. Cheryl began her career as a pediatric nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital in Reno, NV, and continued her work at Madison Co. Mental Health Center, Granite City, IL, prior to the birth of their son, Gregory, in 1974. Her nursing career continued at Moultrie Co. Counseling Center, Sullivan, IL, and in the office of Dr. Gordon Messmore, Arthur, IL, 1977-1985. The Hilgenberg’s daughter, Kara, was born in 1978. Cheryl completed her M.S. in Adult Health Nursing at the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1986 and was honored with the Nursing Peer Award. She then became a clinical and classroom instructor for Olney Central Community College and later Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL.

Cheryl began her Millikin University teaching career as Assistant Professor in 1990 and then completed her doctoral degree in Education at Illinois State University in 1997. She was advanced to Associate Professor in 1998 and then promoted to Full Professor in 2005. Cheryl again furthered her education with postdoctoral studies in transcultural nursing at University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1997 and 1999. While at Millikin, she taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in nursing, as well as transcultural healthcare in the university studies program. Cheryl served as coordinator for Millikin’s global studies courses and was a leader in establishing travel-study courses to the Dominican Republic and China for health care students. She earned national certification as a nurse educator and international certification in transcultural nursing. In 2003, Cheryl became Chair of the School of Nursing undergraduate program and then also chaired the graduate program beginning in 2008. She was also selected to serve as an on-site accreditation evaluator for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

In addition to her extensive service on department and university committees, Dr. Hilgenberg contributed to the research and writing of nearly twenty professional publications. She presented the results of her work at nearly forty regional, national and international conferences, mentored numerous graduate students in their research projects and also contributed her writing to many successful grant proposals. Cheryl received the 2003 Global Studies Innovation in Teaching Award, Millikin’s 2008 Teaching Excellence Award and was also a 2011 finalist for the Chicago Area Nursing Excellence in Teaching Award. She has also been further distinguished in her profession in a number of Who’s Who publications.

The Transcultural Nursing Society honored Dr. Hilgenberg with its Distinguished Service Award in 2005. She was elected to their board of trustees in 2006, served as secretary of the international organization and was then appointed to the Transcultural Nursing Society Foundation Board in 2010. Other numerous professional memberships include National League for Nursing, Illinois Nurses Association, International Society of Psychiatric Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society and Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. Cheryl also served as a peer reviewer for professional journals with a national and international circulation.

Hilgenberg has volunteered her service to St. Mary’s Hospital Diversity Committee, Decatur Memorial Hospital’s Home Care Professional Advisory Committee, Lincolnland Visiting Nurses Association and to Douglas County Medical Reserve Corps, receiving its achievement award in 2006. She also serves on the Professional Advisory Committee for Lincolnland Home Care of SBLHC, is past president of the board of directors for Moultrie County Counseling Center and currently serves on its board. In the Arthur community, Cheryl has served on the board of directors for Community Retirement, Inc., as a member of Arthur Woman’s Club and was named 2001 Psi Iota Xi chapter member of the year for her service with the women’s philanthropic organization. She is a member of the Arthur United Methodist Church, where she works with the youth group and Vacation Bible School children, a classroom volunteer in the Arthur Elementary School and also a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteer.

Cheryl’s 2013 retirement and Mike’s retirement from the Hilgenberg family farming operation allow the Hilgenbergs to share more time with their children and three granddaughters. Mike and Cheryl reside in Arthur, IL, and enjoy traveling, boating and other activities with their family.

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Last Revision November 11, 2017