James Milliken

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James Bennett Milliken
Chancellor of City University of New York
In office
June 1, 2014 – May 31, 2018
Preceded by Matthew Goldstein
Succeeded by Vita C. Rabinowitz (acting)
President of University of Nebraska
In office
Preceded by L. Dennis Smith
Succeeded by Hank M. Bounds
Personal details
Born 1957 (age 60–61)
Fremont, Nebraska
Spouse(s) Nana Graves Hilliard Smith
Alma mater University of Nebraska-Lincoln
New York University School of Law
Profession Academic administrator, professor, attorney

James Bennett Milliken (born 1957) is the former Chancellor of the City University of New York, the largest urban university system in the U.S. from 2014 to 2018, after serving as president of the University of Nebraska from 2004 to 2014, where he was also a professor at the School of Public Affairs and at the College of Law.[1] He served as senior vice president of the University of North Carolina's 16-campus system from 1998 to 2004. Before his career in academic administration, Milliken practiced law in New York City.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Milliken was raised in Fremont, Nebraska. He received his bachelor of arts degree with distinction from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, in 1979, and after graduating from UNL, he spent a year working in Washington, D.C as legislative assistant to Congresswoman Virginia D. Smith, R-Neb, who represented Nebraska's 3rd congressional district from 1975 to 1991.[4] Milliken earned a law degree in 1983 from New York University School of Law; a Root-Tilden Scholar and research assistant to Professor Norman Dorsen, then-president of the American Civil Liberties Union. After graduating from NYU Law, Milliken worked for the Legal Aid Society's Civil Division in New York City, then as an attorney at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.[5]


Milliken returned to Nebraska in 1988 where he accepted the position of executive assistant to the president of the University of Nebraska, and he was subsequently appointed Secretary to the Board of Regents and Vice President for External Affairs.[6]

In 1998, Milliken was appointed by then-president of the University of North Carolina, Molly Corbett Broad to lead university-wide strategy, institutional research, state and federal relations, public affairs, and economic development.[7] In 2000, Milliken helped pass a statewide referendum for a $3.1 billion bond issue for university and community college facilities.[8]

Milliken was appointed president of the University of Nebraska in 2004. He worked to expand access and launched CollegeBound Nebraska, which provided free tuition to Nebraska Pell Grant recipients, University of Nebraska Online Worldwide, and Nebraska Innovation Campus, a public-private research and development park located on the former state fair grounds next to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.[9][2] He subsequently led a $1.8 billion dollar capital campaign,[10] funding new institutes for early childhood (Buffett Early Childhood Institute), global food and water sustainability (Daugherty Water for Food Institute) and rural sustainability (Rural Futures Institute).[2] Milliken also helped lead the Nebraska P-16 Initiative to improve primary education and increase college preparation.[11] He significantly expanded the University's global reach, establishing new programs, with universities, the private sector and government, in China, India, Brazil and Turkey.

Milliken became Chancellor of the City University of New York in 2014. During his time as Chancellor, there has been federal and state investigations of institutional corruption at the university.[12] In November 2016, an interim report of an investigation conducted by the office of New York State Inspector General found "financial waste and abuse", citing shoddy oversight and mismanagement that created a system ripe for financial waste and abuse, and criticized Milliken and CUNY General Counsel Frederick Schaffer, among others, for failing to "effectively operate" the university system."[13][14][15] During the year preceding Milliken's resignation, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo replaced CUNY Board of Trustees chairmen Benno C. Schmidt Jr. with a new chairmen Bill Thompson (New York politician), and nearly all of the members of CUNY's board of trustees with a new politically prominent bloc, about whom Milliken has said, "will have their own ideas about CUNY, and they should have the opportunity to help shape the leadership and agenda for the future."[16] After state and federal investigation into financial irregularities in the CUNY system went public, top CUNY officials left their posts, beginning with the former president of the City College of New York Lisa Coico; CUNY Vice Chancellor of Legal Affairs and General Counsel Frederick P. Frederick P. ("Rick") Schaffer; CUNY Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Allan H. Dobrin; CUNY Vice Chancellor for Research Gillian Small; and CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor of University Relations Jay Hershenson.[17][18][19]

Milliken is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations,[20] Business Higher Education Forum,[21] and on the executive committee of the Council on Competitiveness.[22] He formerly served as a director on the board of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), and led the Commission on Innovation, Competition and Economic Prosperity.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Since 1989, Milliken has been married to Nana Graves Hilliard Smith, a graduate of Yale University, and New York University School of Law.[24] They have three children.


  1. ^ Who's Who in the Midwest, 38th, 39th Editions; Who's Who in America, 66th, 67th, 68th Editions
  2. ^ a b c Perry, Kate Howard (January 15, 2014). "Leaving NU: J.B. Milliken praised as he looks toward future with CUNY system". Omaha World-Herald. 
  3. ^ Chen, David W. (21 November 2017). "Head of City University Will Step Down". Retrieved 22 March 2018 – via NYTimes.com. 
  4. ^ "James B. ("J.B.") Milliken - Phi Delta Theta". www.phidelt.com. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  5. ^ "James Milliken '83 tapped as new chancellor of City University of New York - NYU School of Law". www.law.nyu.edu. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  6. ^ Bryant, Kimberly (June 8, 2004). "Milliken named University of Nebraska president". The Gateway. 
  7. ^ Dunker, Chris (April 27, 2014). "Milliken's tenure a fusion of NU's growth, public's confidence". Lincoln Journal Star. 
  8. ^ Jenkins, Nate (April 29, 2004). "Milliken has experience, roots in state". Lincoln Journal Star. 
  9. ^ Messina, Judith. "People to Watch in Higher Education". 
  10. ^ Lee, Melissa (October 28, 2014). "Campaign for Nebraska tops $1.8 billion". University pf Nebraska Medical Center. 
  11. ^ Ginn, Jennifer. "P-16 initiatives, other state-led partnerships hold key to higher-ed reform, MLC panelists say". 
  12. ^ Chen, David W. (15 November 2016). "Lapses by CUNY Officials Made System 'Ripe for Abuse,' Report Says". Retrieved 22 March 2018 – via NYTimes.com. 
  13. ^ chrome-extension://ecnphlgnajanjnkcmbpancdjoidceilk/content/web/viewer.html?source=extension_pdfhandler&file=https%3A%2F%2Fig.ny.gov%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fpdfs%2FCUNYInterim.pdf
  14. ^ "IG says CUNY broke law; CICU head to resign". Politico PRO. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  15. ^ "Cuomo orders CUNY board to review university's 'entire senior management'". Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  16. ^ Dunker, Chris. "Former NU president Milliken stepping down from CUNY". Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  17. ^ Chen, David W. (23 November 2016). "Cuomo Seizes On City College Scandal to Revive Push to Revamp CUNY". Retrieved 22 March 2018 – via NYTimes.com. 
  18. ^ http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20161204/POLITICS/161209957/cuny-shakeup-can-be-seen-as-an-effort-by-cuny-chancellor-james-milliken-to-keep-his-own-job
  19. ^ mosesm (5 April 2017). "CUNY probe widens". Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  20. ^ "Council on Foreign Relations Membership Roster". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  21. ^ "BHEF Members". Business Higher Education Forum. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Council on Competitiveness Board". The Council on Competitiveness. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  23. ^ Lee, Melissa (August 9, 2009). "Send e-mail, earn degree: NU hopes to catch up in race for online students". Lincoln Journal Star. 
  24. ^ "Nana Smith Wed To James Milliken". Retrieved 22 March 2018. 

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