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In memory of Benjamin Charles Milner, St. John’s tutor emeritus, former faculty advisor to the Mitchell Gallery, director of Graduate Institute
FOR RELEASE: May 25, 2010
CONTACT: Patricia Dempsey, 410-626-2539
Benjamin Charles Milner of Annapolis, Md., long time tutor at St. John’s College, died on May 23, 2010. Mr. Milner had taught at the college for more than three decades.
Mr. Milner’s colleagues at St. John’s remember him fondly. “His friends and admirers sometimes referred to him as ‘Gentle Ben,’ because he was both kindly and a true gentleman. While Ben had a skeptical bent of mind, his skepticism was always conveyed with tolerance and good humor,” says Michael Dink, dean of St. John’s College.
Mr. Milner became a member of the St. John’s faculty in 1965. In addition to many years teaching at St. John’s, he served the college as assistant dean from 1977-1980, director of the Graduate Institute from 1980-1983 and, for several years, chair of the Campus Development Committee. A supporter of the visual arts at St. John’s, Mr. Milner was both active as a student in the college’s studio art classes and served on the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Mitchell Gallery. His service was especially important during the founding years of the Mitchell Gallery. Following his retirement in 1998, he continued to serve as a leader in the St. John’s Executive Seminar Program.
Mr. Milner was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1928. He received his bachelor’s degree in English in 1949 from Emory University. Following two years of service in the Army during the Korean War, he attended Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga., from which he received his bachelor of divinity degree in 1955. He began his graduate studies at Harvard University in 1956, and earned his doctoral degree in the history and philosophy of religion in 1965. Mr. Milner joined the Wellesley College faculty in 1959 where he taught in the department of Biblical history.
In addition to his responsibilities as tutor, Mr. Milner was engaged in Annapolis politics throughout the 1960s and 70s and was particularly active during the critical era of the Civil Rights movement. In his later years, along with his great love of family and the continuing joy of teaching, he became an avid gardener and painter. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Mary Jane Milner, three children, David Baird Milner of Los Angeles, Calif., Rebecca Milner Stratton of Winchester, Mass., and Abigail O’Beirne Milner of Baltimore, Md., and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be held in Wellesley, Mass. in June. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes contributions to support the financial aid program at St. John’s College, 60 College Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland, 21404 or, alternatively, to Hospice of the Good Shepherd, 2042 Beacon Street, Newton, Massachusetts, 02468.