“Ben Kelly opened up the doors at ASU so that many African American athletes could follow his footsteps,” said Millegan. “Leader is how I define him. He has displayed the courage, strength and unselfishness to breakthrough and make a difference. I’m inspired by him and his wife Alvetta’s dedication to serving and improving the lives of others, but specifically the African American community.”
Millegan’s gift will impact more than just the weight room. The $300,000 donation will be used to establish the Michael H. Millegan Academic Athletic Enhancement Endowment, the Michael H. Millegan Curriculum Enhancement Endowment, the Ben and Alvetta Kelly Scholarship Fund, and will fund renovations to the weight room in the Junell Center.
“Whether as a member of ASU’s 1978 National Championship football team or as an executive with Verizon, Mike Millegan has always made an impact,” ASU President Dr. Brian J. May said. “Through his generous gift to athletics, Mike will continue to impact Angelo State and our student athletes, both in the classroom and weight room. “
The Michael H. Millegan Curriculum Enhancement Fund for the College of Business will be used to fund student learning and curriculum development in the College of Business. The funds will be utilized by providing faculty with resources to enhance learning initiatives such as new graduate programs and certifications. The Ben and Alvetta Kelly Football Scholarship Endowment will be awarded to a member of the ASU Rams football team. The Michael H. Millegan ASU Athletics Fund for Academic Excellence will provide financial support to the academic center and academic initiatives supporting student-athletes at Angelo State University.
“It is always exciting to see former student athletes giving back to their institution,” said Texas Tech University System Chancellor Kent Hance. “Thanks to Mr. Millegan’s generosity, Angelo State athletes are not only encouraged to succeed as both students and players, but are reminded of importance of overcoming adversity and serving others. We are grateful to Mr. Millegan and proud that our athletes will be continually reminded of the outstanding legacy of Ben and Alvetta Kelly.”
The weight room’s name will reflect ASU Hall of Honor member Ben Kelly and his wife Alvetta. Ben, a former San Angelo College football player, was one of the first African American football players to compete for a previously all-white football team in Texas. He also spent 29 years running the San Angelo Boys and Girls Club.
“It is thrilling to know that all of our student-athletes will know the story of Ben Kelly through Mike’s generous gift,” ASU Athletics Director Sean Johnson said. “Every student-athlete in each sport uses our weight training facility several times a week and seeing his name every time they walk in the door will reinforce Ben’s legacy.”
The weight room renovations include new flooring, new weight racks and platforms to provide increased safety for student-athletes.
“Angelo State is fortunate to have Mike’s loyalty and passion for both academic and athletic programs,” ASU Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations Jamie Akin said. “He believes in the quality of education our faculty and staff strive for everyday at Angelo State.”
Millegan, a former Ram football player from 1976-1980, is the former president of global wholesale at Verizon and has worked for the company for 33 years. He served on the Business Advisory Council for the College of Business and Professional Studies at Angelo State.
“Mike represents everything that is great about Angelo State Athletics,” Johnson said. “He was an outstanding student-athlete who helped lead his team to the highest achievement on the field and has since enjoyed an incredibly successful career. Then he has chosen to not only give back to his alma mater through several different avenues but has decided to honor a man who made a tremendous impact on his life.”
Millegan was named the 2005 Angelo State Distinguished Alumni of the Year and was a Wells Fargo Distinguished Lecturer in 2003. He was recently named one of the 2014 Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America by Savoy magazine. Millegan received his bachelor’s degree in business management in 1980 and a master’s degree in business administration from Angelo State in 1982.