DENTON (UNT), Texas — Anne Milner Fields and her great nephew UNT alumnus Bryan Milner (’00) have pledged $1 million to UNT’s College of Business to endow scholarships for study abroad opportunities.
The gift is eligible to be matched with $1 million from Charn Uswachoke (’73 M.B.A.) as part of his historic $22 million gift to the university in 2011. Uswachoke set aside a portion of his gift for matching opportunities as a way to encourage more donors to support UNT. Milner said that the match heavily influenced the timing and amount of the gift. “The match allows us to double the impact of our pledge and support the study abroad programs that we’re passionate about,” said Milner.
The Milner/Fields gift is a tribute to a beloved professor, Peyton Foster Roden, who taught Milner finance at UNT. He died last year after teaching at UNT for 37 years. The Milner/Fields gift establishes the Peyton Foster “Doc” Roden Memorial Study Abroad Scholarship Fund. The popular professor was affectionately known as “Doc” to his students and former students.
Milner, vice president of loan originations at Wells Fargo Capital Finance in Dallas, took two study abroad trips to Cuernavaca, Mexico, with Roden. UNT has an exchange program with Tecnológico de Monterrey’s Cuernavaca campus, a relationship that spans many years and which Roden was instrumental in establishing. The Milner/Fields gift will make it possible for 40 to 50 UNT students to study international business each semester.
College of Business Dean Finley Graves said the college has set a goal of having at least 50 percent of its students exposed to other world cultures, either through a short-term or semester-long study abroad experience, an international dual degree or an international internship.
“We are grateful to the Milner family for a gift that will be truly transformative for our students, many of whom would not have the opportunity to go abroad without these scholarships,” Graves said. “Business is global, and if UNT’s College of Business is to become a nationally recognized program, the college must internationalize its programs.”
This is not the first gift from the Milner and Fields families to UNT. In 2004, Fields, also from Dallas, gave $400,000 to establish the James Byron Milner Scholarship in memory of her late brother, a rancher from East Texas. The full scholarship is awarded each year to a student from Byron and Anne’s hometown of Winnsboro, Texas.
Bryan Milner said his great aunt has a strong belief in the importance of higher education. When he decided to return to college and finish his degree after a five-year absence — he attended the University of Texas at Austin straight out of high school — she paid for his UNT education. She has also paid for the education of several other relatives and a few people from her hometown of Winnsboro.
In addition to her belief in education, she was also passionate about travel. “She traveled everywhere,” said Milner. “She and her brother Joe Milner, who was head of the journalism department at Arizona State, took my cousins and me all over Europe and South America. We went on great trips.”