Since the late 1800s, generations of Bradford and Milligan family members have called Ohio Wesleyan University home. Soon, current and future OWU students will call Bradford Milligan Hall their campus home in honor of these legacy families.
Ohio Wesleyan announced Monday it will name its first on-campus student apartment complex Bradford Milligan Hall in recognition of 1983 graduates Kathryn Bradford Milligan and John F. Milligan, their support for OWU’s ongoing Residential Renewal project, and their extensive family legacies.
“Ohio Wesleyan is deeply honored to be able to recognize John and Kathie Milligan with the naming of Bradford Milligan Hall,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “In addition to being tireless and generous supporters of the university, they also believe strongly in the value of the residential campus experience. An immersive residential experience not only provides students with a top-notch liberal arts education, but also helps to prepare them to become engaged citizens and effective leaders.”
The Milligans, residents of Hillsborough, California, are co-chairs of Ohio Wesleyan’s Connect Today, Create Tomorrow fundraising campaign and have pledged $10 million to the university since the seven-year campaign began in 2014.
The couple’s latest gift was a $5 million contribution in 2019 to support the university’s $60 million Residential Renewal project, which includes the construction of Bradford Milligan Hall. The 126-bed, 46,500-square-foot apartment building is scheduled to open in May 2021. The Residential Renewal initiative also includes renovating Smith Hall to create a first-year student village, revitalizing fraternity and adjacent student houses, and improving Welch and Hayes halls.
Previously, the Milligans contributed $5 million to their alma mater in 2014 to create “The John and Kathryn Bradford Milligan ’83/’83 Endowed Fund for The OWU Connection.”
Considered the university’s signature program, The OWU Connection works to help students think big (understand issues from multiple academic disciplines), go global (gain international perspective), and get real (translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience). The OWU Connection includes Theory-to-Practice Grants, Travel-Learning Courses, mentored research, meaningful internships, and other opportunities for on- and off-campus learning.
Both contributions add to an impressive record of engagement and service from Kathryn Bradford Milligan and John Milligan, Ph.D., current chair of the Ohio Wesleyan Board of Trustees. Their legacy also includes son Bradford F. Milligan, who graduated from the university in 2015.
For the Bradfords, additional alumni ties date back to 1904, when Kathryn Bradford Milligan’s great uncle, J. Paul Thompson, earned his OWU diploma. These ties also include her great aunt, Georgella Ikert Thompson, Class of 1906, and grandmother, Doris Ann Thompson Peake, Class of 1924. In addition, her sister, Anne Bradford, and brother, Cameron Bradford, were members of the Classes of 1980 and 1982, respectively.
John Milligan’s ties to Ohio Wesleyan begin with his great grandparents, Melvin Lee Milligan and Jennie Fairbanks Milligan, who graduated in 1884 and 1887, respectively. The ties also include, on his great grandfather’s side, Thomas Iliff, one of the original endowers of Ohio Wesleyan, and John Wesley Iliff, his son, who attended the university in the 1850s. Milligan’s great uncle was Charles Warren Fairbanks, Class of 1872, who served as vice president of the United States under Theodore Roosevelt. Milligan’s grandfather, Robert Lee Milligan, graduated in the Class of 1922 and was a lifetime OWU trustee. Milligan’s uncles, Warren and Robert, were members of the Classes of 1952 and 1956, respectively, and his brother, Scott Milligan, is a graduate of the Class of 1990.
The Milligans said they are pleased to have their family names incorporated into Ohio Wesleyan history with the naming of the new apartment building.
“The residential life at OWU shaped our lives in so many positive ways,” they said. “Not only did we meet each other, but we also benefitted from the constant energy, activity, and dialogue that are vital to campus life. The lifelong friendships built at OWU were part of the unique transformational environment the university provides. We are honored to help fund the next generation residential experience for the students of tomorrow and to have our families recognized with the naming of Bradford Milligan Hall.”
Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign, its Residential Renewal program, and giving to the university at www.owu.edu/campaign.
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