Special fund honors institute founder Lonnie McMillian

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A group of “stealthy” individuals led by Danny Windham, chief executive officer of Digium, revealed its mutual hand last night when the Lonnie McMillian Inspiring Excellence Fund was announced at the annual HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology fund raising event.  “The idea of a non-profit institute for biotechnology here in Huntsville was Lonnie’s vision,” said Windham, “and proceeds from the fund will help recruit and retain the very best researchers to HudsonAlpha.”  Initial gifts to the fund total $2.5 million.
 

“We view this gift as a seed,” Windham added, “and hope to see it grow for many years to come.” Windham said his group had been working undercover for about a year to honor McMillian through the fund.
 
McMillian is a serial entrepreneur who has tremendously impacted the Huntsville community through creation of wealth and jobs. He has quietly mentored dozens of engineers and has helped provide the wherewithal for numerous small businesses.  Best known for founding Adtran with partner Mark Smith, McMillian, in more recent years, has supported biotech companies such as Diatherix, EGEN, Kailos Genetics, Serina Therapeutics and Conversant Bio.
 
What is much lesser known, said Windham, is McMillian’s philanthropy in the community, having frequently been labeled anonymous. In the case of HudsonAlpha, Windam said, “While it’s apparent who Mr. Hudson is, some of you may have wondered who Mr. Alpha is.  All I can tell you is that public records list Lonnie McMillian as the president of the Alpha Foundation.” McMillian and Hudson co-founded HudsonAlpha in 2005.
 
Gifts from the Alpha Foundation have extended to numerous projects in Huntsville, as well as all around the world, Windham added.
 
The Lonnie McMillian Inspiring Excellence Fund at the HudsonAlpha Foundation is pleased to receive donations.  In addition to helping attract the best and brightest researchers to the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, the fund advances the overall mission of the institute to advance genomics research, educational outreach and economic development.  Additional information may be received through contacting LMproject@hudsonalpha.org.