ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Ohio University Eastern Campus has chosen Dan Milleson as the 2019 Austin C. Furbee Award honoree, in recognition of his dedication and contribution to Ohio University and the community. An award dinner was held in his honor on Thursday, May 23 at Belmont Hills Country Club in St. Clairsville.
Ohio University Eastern Campus Dean Bob Klein welcomed Milleson and the entire Milleson family at the event.
"It is my honor to introduce Dan Milleson as the 2019 Austin C. Furbee Award recipient," said Klein. "An alumnus of Ohio University and great friend to the Eastern Campus, we are extremely grateful for Dan’s work not only advocating for Ohio University, but for being a true champion of education at all levels throughout our region. On behalf of Ohio University Eastern, we cannot thank you enough."
Milleson was also recognized by Mr. Michael McTeague, emeritus assistant professor at OUE; Terry Lee, co-chair of the Austin C. Furbee Award; E. J. Schodzinski, director of external affairs at OUE; and D. J. Watson, friend of the recipient.
Schodzinski spoke about his admiration for Milleson.
"My relationship with Dan began approximately twelve years ago when he enrolled at the Eastern Campus as a freshman. He made quite a first impression as a wide-eyed student with aspirations of majoring in business and playing on the basketball team. Mature beyond his years, it was evident to me that Dan was hard-working, and goal-oriented. In addition, he possessed excellent interpersonal skills that enabled him to capitalize on his natural leadership abilities. Dan was respected by his peers and took a genuine interest in others. I am happy to report that his aspiring qualities have only strengthened over time."
Schodzinski continued, "A few years ago, we decided to form a community development board and naturally, Dan was one of the first people we asked to serve. His passion for our mission is extraordinary and his commitment to our board has had a positive effect on our student body and our campus."
Schodzinski noted that Milleson played a significant role in the recent success of the campus’ 60th Anniversary Campaign and Gala.
"Our initial goal was to try to raise $60,000 and generate four separate scholarship endowments to benefit our students," he said. "With Dan’s help, we were able to raise $300,000 along with eight endowments that will open the doors to our most promising students in perpetuity," he said.
According to Schodzinski, Milleson personally established one of these endowments in the name of his grandfather. "The R. Kinsey Milleson Public Service Scholarship will benefit students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied management or political science and meet other established criteria. Needless to say, Dan’s selection for the Austin C. Furbee Award is a well-deserved recognition of his many contributions to Ohio University, the community, and the region."
Life-long friend D. J. Watson then filled in the blanks about Dan’s commitment to the community, which includes his love for Harrison Central Schools, and involvement with local business.
According to Watson, Milleson's support of the Harrison Central community has also been remarkable.
"In 2015, Dan led a group of our peers in forming a political action committee to fight for the passage of a ballot issue to build a new $50M+ PK-12 Harrison Central school campus. After months of knocking on doors, raising money, and carrying a positive message of change, the issue passed on Nov. 3, 2015. As a result, Dan's nieces Kendall and Kinsey Hayes, will walk into their brand new school for the first time this coming August, along with 1,500 other fellow Harrison students. Being a person that has spent my entire adult life working with children, I'm not sure Dan and the YES team could have found a more lasting way to make a positive impact in our community," he said.
Following the successful levy experience, Milleson helped to spearhead the founding of the Harrison Central Alumni Association, an effort that was essentially an extension of the same group of people who fought for the new school campus. In 2017, he ran for State Representative in Ohio's 95th District, and Watson believes that is when people got to see what kind of person Milleson truly is.
"He takes a genuine and personal interest in the lives of other people, and I think that really says something in today's ever-busy climate. Through the years I have watched him be a loyal friend to so many people, including myself, and I know that the Harrison Central community, the Ohio University Eastern community, and the Ohio Valley community as a whole, are all better off in having a friend in Dan Milleson," Watson said.
In closing, Watson stated that Milleson has also been active in the local business community.
"In 2013, Dan financed the purchase of Milleson Insurance Agency, which had been in his family for three generations. Instead of staying the course, Dan wanted to grow the company's footprint and since then the agency has added ten full-time employees and opened new offices in Belmont and Jefferson County. His work ethic, vision and loyalty to his employees has been an inspiration for his family and closest friends to say the least," Watson said.
Milleson was very appreciative to receive the award.
"Being selected as a recipient of the Austin C. Furbee Award is a humbling experience. I am proud to be a graduate of Harrison Central, an alumnus of Ohio University, and I’m proud to play some small role in this community," he said.
He continued, "I will always be an advocate for Ohio University Eastern. I firmly believe that it is a tremendous asset to our community, providing a high-quality and affordable higher education opportunity for students of all ages."
Austin C. Furbee, for whom the award is named, played a key role in the formation of the Ohio University Eastern Campus. While serving as a Belmont County Commissioner, Furbee realized that there were limited opportunities for higher education in the Ohio Valley. As a result, he became instrumental in the commission’s acquisition of the former Belmont County Experimental Station farmland, which was to become a regional campus of Ohio University.
Furbee’s involvement with Ohio University grew throughout the years. He was a long-time member of the Ohio University Eastern Regional Coordinating Council, and also presided as chairman of the council when Shannon Hall, the first building on the St. Clairsville campus, was dedicated in 1967. As a result of Furbee’s efforts, the Eastern Campus has continued to grow, and serve the needs of the community. Ohio University’s Eastern Campus stands as a tribute to his vision, determination and hard work.
The Austin C. Furbee award was first given in 1981 after Furbee’s wife, Gladys, established an endowed fund in memory of her husband. The award is given annually to recognize an individual who has shown dedication, commitment and service to Ohio University and to the community.
Previous Austin C. Furbee Award recipients include:
Mary J. Poston
Dr. Robert J. Parrish
Carole A. Mitchell
Thomas W. Dunlap
Roger W. Stewart
Robert W. Ney
Dr. E.R. Bovenizer
William L. Toothman
Harry W. White
George A. Carroll, Jr.
James W. Newton, Jr.
Daniel L. Frizzi, Jr.
Terry A. Lee
Keith A. Sommer
Richard W. Greenlee
Dr. John S. Mattox
Denise M. Penz
Rodney Hanson & Deborah Hanson Shutler