What is Peter doing now?
Few alumni can boast a connection to Queen’s as lengthy or as intimate as that of Peter Milliken, Arts’68. Or one that is as passionate.
Peter is one of four Milliken children, out of seven siblings, to attend Queen’s. The retired Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands and at 10 years (2001-11) Canada’s longest-serving – and some say best – Speaker of the House can proudly recite the long family connection with the University.
“My great-grandfather [Daniel Watson Stewart, BA 1882] went to Queen’s. For many years in the 1950s, he was the University’s oldest living graduate,” recalls Peter. “My maternal grandparents met during their student days. My paternal grandparents sent all five of their sons here. My parents met at Queen’s, too. And my birth was announced in the pages of The [Queen’s] Journal.”
Of his own student days, when he studied political science and economics, Peter says, “When I look back at the friends I had then it’s extraordinary how often we see each other.”
A frequent guest lecturer at Queen’s during his tenure as MP, Peter also taught in the School of Business for a time. Since retiring from politics in 2011, Peter has taken on a new role with his alma mater: Fellow at the School of Policy Studies. “I try to drop in two to three times a week,” says Peter, who has an office in Robert Sutherland Hall. “I talk to students and faculty who stop by.”
Peter is also heavily involved with fundraising for the University, serving for 18 months on the cabinet for the Faculty of Arts and Science portion of the Queen’s Initiative Campaign, helping work out “where to get money,” as he says with a laugh.
Giving back to Queen’s is very much a Milliken family tradition. “My great-grandfather did. So did my grandparents. I think they felt it was important to do that. This was a place that influenced their lives and made a big difference to them.”
Peter has carried on the family tradition. A long-time Queen’s donor himself, he has also included a bequest in his will that will help see his alma mater into the future. “This is something that I think more people should look at doing,” he says. “Leaving a bequest to Queen’s can make a real difference, and it’s nice to know that if members of your own family – grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or even nieces and nephews – follow in your academic footsteps, they’ll receive a quality education and will enjoy the same wonderful opportunities from which you’ve benefited.