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Governor William Milliken
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William Milliken was born in Traverse City, Michigan in 1922.  His father, James T. Milliken, was mayor of Traverse City and later a State Senator as well as his grandfather who also served as State Senator of Michigan.  William G. Milliken graduated from Traverse City High School and attended Yale University where he was a member of the varsity basketball and track team.  He left Yale to serve in the Army Air Force in World War II.  Milliken flew fifty combat missions over Europe as waist-gunner and had to bail out over Italy.  He was awarded the Purple Heart for heroism and two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters for bravery in World War II.

After his service, he returned to Yale and graduated in 1946 with a degree in political science.  In 1961 he was elected as a State Senator, like his father and grandfather before him.  From 1965 to 1969 he served as lieutenant governor under George Romney, and became governor when George Romney left office to serve in Richard Nixon’s cabinet.  Milliken went on to become the longest-serving Michigan Governor in history.  During his 14 years as governor serving as a moderate republican, he was chairman of The National Governor’s Association, and led in the formation of the Council of Great Lakes Governors.

After retiring from the governorship, Milliken was chairman of the Great Lakes Commission in Chicago, a Chrysler board member, a Ford Foundation board member, and an active member of the Police Foundation in Washington DC.  He also received honorary college degrees from virtually all Michigan universities.  He lives in Traverse City with his wife.

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