About Governor Milliken

Governor William G. Milliken"I've always felt that good government is good politics...it's a key to maintaining the public's trust and respect for public officials.  When that is lost, the strength of our democracy is weakened."

William G. Milliken, Michigan Governor, 1969 - 1982







William G. Milliken was born on March 26, 1922, in Traverse City, Michigan. He entered Yale University a year before the United States entered World War II. He enlisted in the Army Reserve Corps in 1942 and volunteered for service in the Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1945. During the war, he flew 50 missions, received a flak wound, and earned numerous medals. He completed his bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1946.

He served in the Michigan Senate from 1961 to 1964 and was Michigan's Lieutenant Governor from 1965 to 1969.

He became governor of Michigan in 1969 after Governor George Romney resigned to assume a cabinet appointment in the Nixon administration. His widespread admiration among Michigan voters is reflected in his 14 years of service as governor - the longest in Michigan history.  Milliken won the general election in 1970 and subsequent elections in 1974 and 1978. 

Although more than 25 years have passed since his departure in 1982, he is remembered as a moderate governor whose willingness to cross party lines in the pursuit of cooperation and consensus among Michigan legislators earned the love and respect of citizens throughout the state. 

In one phrase: The subtitle to Dave Dempsey's biography about Governor Milliken is Michigan's Passionate Moderate.

CMU connection: William Milliken's maternal grandfather, Charles T. Grawn, served as president of Central Michigan State Normal School from 1900 to 1918.

Family: William Milliken married Helen Wallbank of Littleton, Colorado, on October 20, 1945. Children: Elaine Wallbank Milliken (1948 - 1943) and William G. Milliken, Jr. (b. 1946).

Source: William G. Milliken: Michigan's Passionate Moderate by Dave Dempsey (The University of Michigan Press, 2006).