$1 million donation inspired by deceased UNT professor

$1 million donation inspired by deceased UNT professor

April 09
21:44 2013

Andrew Freeman / Staff Writer

Anne Milner Fields and and her great-nephew UNT alumnus Bryan Milner have donated $1 million to the College of Business to go toward scholarships for study abroad opportunities for students.

The gift is eligible to be matched by another million from alumni Charn Uswachoke, to branch off of his $22 million gift to the university in 2011.

“My aunt has given in the past, and has always been about education,” said Bryan Milner, who received his undergraduate in finance and masters at Southern Methodist University. “To me, part of the whole reason for the donation was the bond I had with my professors.”

They had donated in the past and discussed a proposal to donate again with the late Peyton Roden. Roden was a Regents finance  professor in the College of Business, who passed away last year at age 71.

When Roden died, the two said they knew it was time to donate.

“Dr. Roden was instrumental in his relationship with UNT and the study abroad programs, like his relationship with Centro Bilingue in Mexico,” Milner said. “I hope Dr. Roden’s legacy carries on. With the scholarships, I want students to continue to go to Mexico and not pay a dime. That’d be great.”

Uswachoke’s offer to match the donation was an incentive that did more than speed up their donation.

“It was critical in its timing,” Milner said. “Being matched, we increased our amount, too.”

Many of Roden’s other former students agree what a big deal funding for study abroad is.

“When my senior year came around, it came time to expand my horizons,” said Roden’s former student Nancy Miller, development manager at the Ronald McDonald Charity House of Fort Worth. “I tried to save money by working really hard, and even took out a student loan. The money would have been nice. I mean, the trip changed the course of my life.”

Miller hopes students can continue to experience study abroad opportunities in the future.

“A lot of these kids are working through college, and a lot of people probably forgo this opportunity, but scholarships will hopefully enable more people to go on these trips,” Miller said. “He [Roden] set up a great program, and I hope many people get to enjoy it, because that is what he would have wanted.”

Roden’s wife Christie Roden said he loved teaching.

“He loved being with students and loved studying abroad,” she said. “He taught as long as he could, even for a short time after he was diagnosed with liver cancer.”

To her, this scholarship means a lot.

“He would be so happy to know what this money is going towards,” Christie Roden said. “It would mean so much to him and it means so much to his family.”

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