Edison State Community College Board of Trustee member Dr. Thomas Milligan, of Sidney, was recently elected board president of the Reformed University (Corporacion Universitaria Reformada), a private protestant institution of higher learning based in Barranquilla, Colombia, in South America.
The Reformed University was founded in 2002 with just four academic programs and less than 200 students. The University now has 18 academic programs and an enrollment of just over 2,900. During the week of Milligan’s election as board president, the University took center stage in the country of 55 million people as it was chosen by the newly elected government of Colombia as the site to hold regional dialogs on future government initiatives. These were followed by an address at the University by Colombian President Gustavo Petro to a crowd of over 10,000.
Milligan was first elected to the University’s Board of Trustees in 2017, the first and only non-Colombian to hold a board position there.
“It is a distinct honor, particularly as a non-citizen, to have gained the trust of my Colombian peers to lead the Reformed University Board at this exciting time in the institution’s trajectory,” said Milligan.
University Rector, Helis Barraza, applauded the Board’s decision, saying, “Dr. Milligan’s election as Board President offers the institution international visibility at a critical time in its growth.”
Milligan’s connection to Colombia spans over 40 years, back to his time there as a student in the late 1970s. His recent connection started in 1995 as part of a team from the Presbytery of the Miami Valley, based in Dayton, engaged in a faith-based mission partnership with a sister presbytery in northern Colombia. For Milligan, this service led to engagement in educational leadership with the sister church’s Reformed University project.
Milligan has been a member of the Edison State Board of Trustees since 1999 and was Chair from 2017 to 2019.