University of Texas - Pan American
Dennis McMillan served our country as a member of the U.S. Navy in the late 1960s and was awarded both the Viet Nam Campaign Medal and the Viet Nam Service Medal. After returning home from the field of combat, he joined the Naval Reserve and began his professional career on another combat field: Texas Higher Education. Dennis joined the staff of Texas Tech University in 1970 as Administrative Head of the University Post Office. With Dennis at the helm, mail was delivered seven days a week -- times have certainly changed! He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at Texas Tech, and continued his career there for the next 17 years, advancing to the position of Veteran's Education and Training Representative, and eventually becoming the Assistant Registrar. In 1987 he moved north a couple of West Texas miles to Amarillo, where he became Registrar & Director of Admissions at Amarillo College. In 2002, Dennis decided to make a big change - he left the cool, dry Texas Panhandle and headed south to the valley to become Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Texas Pan American. At UTPA he worked along side a powerhouse of influential TACRAO'ans, the likes of which include multiple Honorary Members and a cast of characters that reads like a who's who of TACRAO's finest. I should mention that Dennis was also inspired professionally over the years by another role model whose influence was even more powerful than that of his legendary boss. That inspiration came not at the office, but at home from his wife, Lise, who was also an active member of TACRAO during her tenure as Executive Director of Enrollment Management at West Texas A&M.
For over 40 years, Dennis has unselfishly devoted his time to public service in higher education. He's been active on the state, region and national level as a member and chair of numerous committees, most recently concluding a term as chair of TACRAO's Legislative Issues committee. He's delivered dozens of presentations, published articles, and served on the TACRAO Executive Committee as Treasurer from 1998-2000. I should mention that when I became Dennis' successor as TACRAO Treasurer in 2001, he not only passed "the books" along to me in excellent shape, but he took time to come to San Antonio and give me a training session on "how to be Treasurer." I'll always remember his parting words of wisdom and the huge grin on his face as he handed me the checkbook and said: "Good luck, and be really, really nice to the Audit Committee."
Dennis and Lise both retired this summer and have just finished moving to the Texas Hill Country to begin the next chapter in their lives. I'm sure that among the first items unpacked were Dennis' golf clubs. And while Lise is busy putting their new home in order, I'm also sure Dennis has already started earning a reputation among the New Braunfels locals as a scratch golfer. He and I also share a passion for fine cigars, although I understand Lise has finally trained him out of that habit.
For his many contributions and dedicated service to higher education for over four decades, it gives me great pleasure to present Honorary Membership in TACRAO to my long-time colleague and friend, Dennis McMillan.