Don and Elizabeth MillsDon (MBA’74) and Elizabeth Mills (BEd’73) say their families didn’t have much when they were growing up, but their parents always found a way to make a difference in the community.

“My parents were always doing, always helping, always giving,” recalls Don. “More than that, they were happy to help.”

Their parents were also happy to help Don and Elizabeth earn their university degrees. As they saw it, post-secondary education held the power to change their children’s lives, and the world, for the better. “I don’t remember a time when it wasn’t an assumption I would go on in my education,” says Elizabeth. “My parents never had the chance and wanted to ensure my sister and I had the opportunity.”

Persevering through tough times

That unwavering support guided Don and Elizabeth through some tough times, such as his return to university to earn an MBA at Dalhousie despite being in debt. “My decision to obtain my MBA was a personal goal and while this achievement is mine, it belongs as much to my parents, who gave what little they had in the hopes that I would have even more to give.”

Now Chairman and CEO of Corporate Research Associates, he and Elizabeth have consistently given back to the university where Don says, “I discovered what I truly wanted to do, and was given the tools to make it happen.”

Establishing the Mills Award in Marketing

Don is not only an alumnus; he’s also served as a faculty member and on the Board of Governors, yet always wanted to do more. That led him and Elizabeth to establish the Mills Award in Marketing in 2010 to help students overcome financial challenges and earn their degrees. Since then, they have also left a gift to Dalhousie in their will.

“There is no greater honour than to give to your family by giving to your community,” explains Don. “Dalhousie University changed my life forever. Creating the award and including Dalhousie in my will is a legacy that belongs to my family.”

“We believe an educated community can accomplish great things,” adds Elizabeth. “And we both come from families that believed in the transformative power of education. We hope to see others attain their goals through our financial support of Dalhousie and to one day pay it forward.”