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WD's Steve Milligan continuing to give back to Fisher

Published: 2014-05-21

When Steve Milligan told 2014 Master of Accounting (MAcc) graduates to never forget their roots at The Ohio State University and Fisher College of Business, it was more than advice from someone who had once been in their shoes. No, for Milligan, the president and CEO of Western Digital Corporation, it was a challenge for them to become more than newly minted accounting professionals.

Steve Milligan

“The great privilege of being a proud graduate of The Ohio State University comes with great responsibility,” said Milligan, who served as the keynote speaker at the recent MAcc pre-commencement ceremony at the Ohio Union. “I am sure you will go forward and proudly represent the Ohio State family well, but please do not forget to give something back to this great institution.”

Milligan (BSBA ’85) and his wife, Anne, are examples of such philanthropy in action. Together they have supported more than a dozen initiatives across the university, including the Stephen D. and Anne O. Milligan Accounting Education Innovation Fund at Fisher. The fund has financed scholarships and, in 2013, helped send Accounting Honors students to a joint meeting of the International Accounting Standards and Financial Accounting Standards Boards in London.

“Steve and Anne’s generosity and support continues to make a difference in the lives of our accounting students,” said Waleed Muhanna, chair of the Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems at Fisher. “They are most-valued friends and partners in the ways that we educate and prepare the next generation of accounting leaders.”

Speaking to the MAcc students at their pre-commencement ceremony, Milligan shared his advice on a number of topics, including effective leadership, striking a healthy balance between work and family life and learning from inevitable mistakes.

“Believe in your passions, and believe in your dreams,” he said. “But remember that you are a fallible human being, and we all make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes and remember they are merely part of your journey. They do not define you.”

In addition to Milligan’s service through his roles on Fisher’s Alumni Board, the Ohio State Athletics Campaign Committee and the university’s But for Ohio State campaign, he continues to help elevate Fisher’s business outreach efforts around the world. Western Digital is sponsoring two Global Applied Projects teams -- providing first-year MBA students with invaluable experience through robust project work in China, Malaysia and Singapore.

Western Digital’s global philanthropic efforts were recently recognized, as Milligan accepted the B’nai B’rith Distinguished Achievement Award on behalf of his company. The honor acknowledged the Western Digital Foundation for its commitment to educational programs focusing on science, technology, engineering, math and computer literacy, especially those targeting at-risk and underserved youth. The Foundation’s global commitment to corporate giving also includes support for disaster relief, basic needs and homeless prevention, environmental stewardship and employee volunteerism.

The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business Go Beyond