Writer: Linda Fresques
An introduction of the book, Hugh Meglone Milton: A Life Beyond Duty, will be held as part of the College of Engineering Homecoming festivities on Friday, Sept. 23, 2-3 p.m., in Hernandez Hall Room 103. A Conversation with Hugh M. Milton, featuring Professor Emeritus Richard Rundell as General Milton. The event is free and open to all.
“Despite his remarkable accomplishments, Milton’s life has been somewhat forgotten. We hope the new book will illuminate and commemorate the remarkable contributions of a man who truly lived a life beyond duty,” said Hines, civil engineering, BS and MS, ‘65 and ‘67.
Hugh Meglone Milton: A Life Beyond Duty (ISBN 978-1-936744-44-2) includes two sections: Part I, a short biography, and Part II, a collection of selected speeches, essays, and letters. It was published by LPD Press and Rio Grande Books in collaboration with New Mexico State University Library and Archives.
Following is a brief biography of Milton.
Hugh Meglone Milton: A Life Beyond Duty
Hugh Meglone Milton II descended from a long line of British ancestors that included the renowned poet, John Milton. A BS and MS graduate of the University of Kentucky, Milton taught at Texas A&M, then joined the engineering faculty at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (NM A&M) in 1924. There he began an extraordinary life filled with scholarship, teaching, oration, writing, government, military, and civic service, and above all, leadership. Despite the shocking death of his young wife, Lola, and loss of mentor Ralph Goddard in a gruesome accidental electrocution, he served with distinction as Professor, Dean and President of NM A&M from 1924-40. Milton remarried, sired two sons, and led the College through perhaps the most difficult period in its history, including a politically-based challenge to its accreditation.
Called into WWII from his position in the Army Reserve where he had served since WWI, he served as General Oscar Griswold’s XIV Corps chief of staff in the Pacific theater. Together, they led the defense of the island of Bougainville and its key base which was critical in the destruction of the Japanese fortress of Rabaul on New Britain. Under the command of General MacArthur and Griswold, Milton helped plan and spearhead the American force which retook Luzon and Manila in the Philippines and liberated thousands of POWs and civilian internees.
Returning from WWII in 1945, he was again President of NM A&M and later became Superintendent of New Mexico Military Institute. The Korean War saw him called to military duty once more where President Eisenhower soon promoted him to Assistant and then Undersecretary of the Army. He served in the Pentagon from 1951 to 1961 through the critical Cold War period. He returned to New Mexico in 1961, undertook innumerable leadership positions in civic service and gave dozens of memorable public speeches. A natural storyteller with a gift for enlivening narratives, his speeches had a graceful, almost Victorian cadence. An accomplished teacher so versed in his subject that he carried listeners to a new level of understanding. His essays, heretofore unpublished, are often infused with an impressive command of literature, sociology, and history.