Lonnie McMillian honored as outstanding community philanthropist

With the hint of a tear in his eye, HudsonAlpha co-founder Jim Hudson honored his longtime friend and business partner Lonnie S. McMillian by presenting his family the Community Philanthropy Award at the Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County’s 6th annual Summit on Philanthropy. More than 400 local and regional philanthropists, board members and community partners attended the event, which was held September 16th at the Jackson Center

“Lonnie is truly a wonderful man, and has meant so much to me throughout my life,” said Hudson. “His family is here to accept this award, and the reason he isn’t here is because he truly is such a humble person.”

Daughters Barbara Fisk, Emily Robertson and Sue Whitehead and other family members accepted the award and said a few words about how much their father’s spirit of philanthropy has guided their own lives.

McMillian, a founder of ADTRAN, retired from that company in 2001 and immersed himself in the life sciences. The Alpha Foundation was formed with a vision of improving the human condition through support of scientific research, education and other charitable causes.

In addition to the overwhelming support for the creation of HudsonAlpha, McMillian mentored countless aspiring entrepreneurs and helped with the creation of HudsonAlpha associate companies Diatherix, Celsion-EGEN (formerly EGEN), Kailos Genetics, Serina Therapeutics and Conversant Bio.

“Recognition for Lonnie McMillian is well-deserved and rewards from his innovative idea to combine research with companies in the same building is realized every day here at the Institute,” said HudsonAlpha President and Science Director Richard Myers, PhD.