Bill Milam’s Honorary CCC Degree Should Inspire Us All

4/25/06


This is truly a time for optimism at Cumberland County College as the dogwood trees bloom on campus and the May 18 commencement approaches. The word “commence” means to start. So even though commencement at CCC marks a milestone of achievement for our graduates – this may be the largest class in the college 39-year history – it’s also the beginning of further student accomplishments.

At commencement, students will pause to reflect on the fine education they received from CCC’s outstanding professors, and they will look for inspiration as they prepare for the road ahead.

That’s why I’m thrilled that William F. Milam will be receiving the college’s 2006 honorary Associate in Arts degree. This is the highest award the college can bestow upon an individual. Mr. Milam is an outstanding role model for the graduating class since he is a textbook example of the American success story.

Mr. Milam couldn’t afford college, so he went into the Army right out of high school. He says that if the School Counts! program - in which high students can earn certificates for CCC scholarships - existed when he was in high school, he would have set his goals toward attending college.

Instead, the Vineland resident, through hard work and intelligence, went on to succeed in business as the chairman/CEO of Foundry Service Corporation. But Mr. Milam has a keen understanding of the value of education in our community, particularly in today’s marketplace. That’s why he has contributed his time, wisdom and financial resources to assure that the college serves as many people as possible.

A believer that an investment in CCC is an investment in the community, Mr. Milam serves as vice chair of the CCC Board of Trustees and member of the CCC Foundation. In 2002, Mr. Milam contributed a significant gift to the college’s School Counts! Scholarship Endowment Campaign, which raised $2.7 million for scholarships. In 2001 and 2005, Mr. Milam funded and participated in conferences for developing the college’s five-year strategic plans.

Bill Milam’s wife, Jo Milam, also shares her time and talents to benefit the college. She is a member of the CCC Friends Enrichment Committee, which raises funds for scholarships among other activities.

Community service is a family affair for the Milams. When Bill and Jo Milam were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary a few years ago, they didn’t want presents, so friends and family members established the Bill and Jo Milam scholarship endowment for CCC students.

Yes, spring is the inspiring season at CCC. So you’ll see a lot of proud, smiling faces on May 18 when the college community honors Mr. Milam and all of our graduates.