Class of ’51 couple thanks Syracuse University with $6 million for new Life Sciences Complex
Class of ’51 couple thanks Syracuse University with $6 million for new Life Sciences ComplexApril 17, 2006Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
Fifty-nine years ago, something very special happened in Hendricks Chapel at Syracuse University. It was freshman convocation for the class of ’51 — the first day of school — and it was the first time Jack Milton and Laura Hanhausen met. He was an engineering major from Albany, and she, a pre-med student from White Plains, N.Y. A few rows ahead of Laura, Jack was chatting with a girl from his high school who happened to be living in the same dorm as Laura — Parker Cottage. Laura chimed in and joined their conversation. An outdoor dance followed the ceremony, and Jack asked Laura to dance. They married in July of 1950, the summer of their junior year, and have been together ever since.
Recently, the Miltons have given something back to SU: a gift of $6 million to build the atrium of the new Life Sciences Complex, which will begin construction this spring. The complex, SU’s largest and most ambitious construction project to date, will house biology, chemistry and biochemistry in one space for the first time in the University’s history. The atrium will connect the existing Center for Science and Technology with the new facility and serve as a common area and crossroads of the complex. Ellenzweig Associates, a national leader in science teaching and research facilities, is designing the project.
“Our main design challenge is to create a building that fosters collaboration between researchers and students,” says Miltos Catomeris, design principal at Ellenzweig Associates. “The area between the new building and the Center for Science and Technology is being designed as a social space that unites these buildings and creates a bold, new front door to both biology and chemistry.”
The Miltons have never forgotten their alma mater in the years since Jack graduated from the School of Business Administration (now the Martin J. Whitman School of Management) and Laura graduated with a bachelor’s degree in French from The College of Arts and Sciences. Since then, they have maintained close ties with the University. Today, Jack, the founder and chairman of Milton CAT Inc., serves on SU’s Board of Trustees and the Whitman School’s Corporate Advisory Council. Laura serves on The College of Arts and Sciences’ Board of Visitors. Their daughter, Stacey Louise Milton Leal ’75, attended SU as well, graduating with a bachelor of fine arts degree from the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
In addition to their involvement with SU leadership organizations, the Miltons have given generously to the University over the years. In 1999, a gift from the couple funded two major projects at SU: the Laura Hanhausen Milton Freshman Lecture Endowment, which established a lecture series for the First Year Forum program in The College of Arts and Sciences, and the Milton Room in the new Martin J. Whitman School of Management building.
The Milton Lecture series brings a speaker of international stature to campus each fall to address the new entering class of The College of Arts and Sciences. The endowment enables the College to invite to campus world-renowned scholars and writers such as Elie Wiesel and Toni Morrison. Last fall, the series featured a lecture by novelist Isabel Allende. The Milton Room is the Whitman School’s executive boardroom.
Asked why they have remained so closely connected with SU, Jack cites the impact the University has made on his ability to succeed in business and in life. “It’s in recognition of what the University gave us in an education that allowed us to progress to where we are, and have the ability to make contributions to it,” he says. “And of course, we met and married at Syracuse, so it has a special meaning to us.”
Laura agrees. “It has given us a great sense of the value of an education, and I think it was a gift to both of us to meet at SU.”