Press Release

Ohio Wesleyan Graduate Makes $1.5 Million Gift Commitment

May 18, 2015 – by Cole Hatcher

Gena Davis Mills ’63 and Bob Mills

Eugenia Davis Mills, Class of 1963, and Robert H. Mills Endow Fund to Support Faculty

DELAWARE, Ohio – When Ohio Wesleyan University graduate Eugenia Davis Mills reminisces about her college days, she fondly recalls bird-watching for ornithology class, spending time at the serene (but “smelly”) Sulphur Spring, and taking classes with English professor Benjamin Spencer, whom she remembers as “gentle and inspiring.”

Although she enrolled with the Class of 1964, “Gena” Davis graduated a full year early with the OWU Class of 1963. She then married Robert H. “Bob” Mills, a 1960 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the couple spent 30 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency with shared assignments in Thailand, Indonesia, Ukraine, Poland, New Zealand, and Mexico. They still love immersing themselves in other cultures, and their post-retirement journeys have included trips to Europe, Africa, the Galapagos Islands, and even Antarctica.

Wishing to support Ohio Wesleyan’s globally focused curriculum and dedicated faculty, Gena and Bob Mills are making a $1.5 million gift commitment to the university to establish the Eugenia Davis Mills ’63 Endowed Fund for Faculty Support.

The commitment from the La Jolla, California, couple includes a $1 million estate bequest. After receiving the bequest, Ohio Wesleyan will transition the fund, per the couple’s wishes, into the Eugenia Davis Mills Professorship in English.

“We are so grateful to Gena and Bob Mills for their generous gift,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “Gena has used her liberal arts education to better understand peoples and policies throughout the world. This contribution will aid Ohio Wesleyan’s faculty as they work to provide current and future students with the same type of caring, mentoring instruction that Gena received.”

Gena Mills, an English major, said she still remembers the caliber and impact of her Ohio Wesleyan coursework, especially Professor Spencer’s English classes and his “unmatched knowledge of Shakespeare.”

While at Ohio Wesleyan, she also was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, English Writers Club, and Transcript newspaper staff. And Mills still smiles when she recalls that, although she once worried about passing her OWU gymnastics class, she has since developed a passion for yoga and spent 20 years as a yoga teacher.

The couple’s $1.5 million gift is in support of Ohio Wesleyan’s Connect Today, Create Tomorrow capital campaign, launched in July.

Campaign co-chair Kevin J. McGinty said the Mills’ gift is a tribute to the lifelong impact OWU faculty members have on their students.

“Ohio Wesleyan’s professors are the heart and soul of the university, and Gena’s fond memories of Professor Spencer’s classes are a testament to this,” said McGinty, a 1970 OWU graduate. “We are grateful to both Gena and Bob for their support of OWU’s faculty and the Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign. A key campaign objective is to support faculty excellence, and we hope this gift inspires others.”

The seven-year Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign, which remains in its leadership phase, already has generated more than $72 million in gifts and commitments. In addition to recognizing and rewarding faculty excellence, the campaign’s primary objectives are to enhance access and affordability for students through scholarship endowment and to improve the physical campus, including student housing. To learn more about the campaign and contributing to Ohio Wesleyan, visit owu.edu/waystogive.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 86 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,750 students represent 46 U.S. states and territories and 43 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.