Former State Senator and ICI Trustee Morris Mills Wins CIC’s Foreman Award
Friday, May 8, 2015
Posted by: Linda Meador
INDIANAPOLIS, May 5, 2015 – Retired Indiana Senator Morris Mills has been named the 2015 Charles W.L. Foreman Award winner by the Council of Independent Colleges State Funds. It is the group’s top national award, annually recognizing the college president or trustee who has demonstrated “truly exceptional commitment and leadership” to the private, nonprofit sector of higher education. He was presented the award in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 27.
In all, Senator Mills served 32 years in the Indiana General Assembly. While serving in the Indiana House, he sponsored legislation in 1973 to expand state financial aid for needy students, creating the Freedom of Choice grant for students attending independent colleges and universities in Indiana to stand side-by-side with the Higher Education Act for students attending public universities.
“Throughout his tenure in the Indiana legislature, Senator Mills was known for his advocacy for education,” says Richard L. Ludwick, ICI president & CEO, “particularly for his commitment to the belief that all students, regardless of family background, should have the opportunity to choose their best college fit, whether that be a public or private institution of higher learning.”
Senator Mills authored numerous education bills, including the first equalizing funding bill for Indiana K-12 public schools, and continues to be a prominent advocate for education since his retirement from the political arena. He is an active member of the Independent Colleges of Indiana Board of Directors, a position he has held for many years, as well as its Executive Committee and its STEM Teach Advisory Group, an initiative funded by a $1.5 M state grant.
While a fourth-generation student at ICI member Earlham College, he had his education interrupted by World War II and service in the Army Corp of Engineers. After the war, he returned to Earlham to complete his undergraduate degree and then went on to earn his MBA at the Harvard Business School in 1952. He has also served as a trustee on the Earlham Board and Foundation, part of a long line of Mills family alums and trustees. To recognize the family’s leadership and generosity since Earlham’s early days, one of its residence halls has been named Mills.
During his tenure in both the House and Senate, he served in positions of significant responsibility and influence, including a leading member of the State Budget Committee, assistant president pro tempore of the Senate, chairman of the Budget Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee, chairman of the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee, and member of the Planning and Economic Development Committee. In particular, he served as the principal negotiator of 14 state budgets and authored 14 school funding formulas. Indiana higher education leaders often cite the Senator as the single most effective advocate for Indiana higher education during his 30-plus years of service in the legislature.
Because of his work in the area of education and education finance, Senator Mills received special awards by the Indiana Vocational Association and the Indiana State Teachers Association and was appointed to chair the National Advisory Council on Continuing Education by President Ronald Reagan in 1982. In 2004, he was inducted into the Indiana Academy, an honorary society recognizing outstanding Hoosiers for lifetimes of achievement and contribution to the state and education. Among his many other recognitions are the President’s Medal of Excellence from Indiana University, three Sagamores of the Wabash from three different governors, and the Government Leader of the Year award from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 750 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.
Independent Colleges of Indiana serves as the collective voice for the state’s 31 private, nonprofit colleges and universities. ICI member institutions enroll some 100,000 students (approximately 17 percent of all undergraduates statewide) and annually produce 32 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in Indiana. Information about ICI is available at www.icindiana.org.