McMillan prepares students to become
officers and business executives

by Cadet Robbie Kirk, '05
Public Affairs intern

Former Congressman Alex McMillan

Alex McMillan, who holds the W. Frank Hipp Distinguished Chair in Business Administration, is excited about the opportunity to influence the minds of cadets in the school of business, particularly those who will serve in the armed forces. He believes future military officers need to know more than how to set a good example and lead troops; they also need to know kinds of governments and the way they are run. As engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq have demonstrated, future officers should be prepared to help rebuild foreign governments.

McMillan, who joined the faculty in August, is interested in the influence he will have on his students whether or not they seek a commission. "I want to teach them to be involved in their communities and their government," said McMillan.

In the business, government and society class McMillan teaches, he shows cadets how government regulates different aspects of business. He invites distinguished members of the business community to speak to his class about the issues cadets are covering.

McMillan himself has plenty of experience with these topics from the perspective of both business and government. He served as chief financial officer of the Ruddick Corp., a large conglomerate of companies such as Harris Teeter. He also worked as CEO of Harris Teeter and served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing North Carolina's 9th District which includes the greater Charlotte area.

The former congressman points out the unique opportunities offered by the school of business to graduate students through the College of Graduate and Professional Studies (CGPS). "No other service academy or military college has a graduate business school," he said.

McMillan hopes CGPS will draw more students from the healthcare community. Having served on the healthcare reform task force while in Congress, McMillan thinks a business degree could be a great asset to healthcare managers and those in the business of running hospitals. In fact, CGPS recently teamed up with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to offer a dual degree program which allows pharmacists to receive a doctorate degree from MUSC and a master’s degree in business administration from The Citadel.

A native of North Carolina, McMillan received his bachelor's degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After serving two years in U.S. Army intelligence, he went to the University of Virginia to earn a master's degree in business administration. McMillan says he chose to study business because he thinks other fields narrowed his options while business opened them.

The W. Frank Hipp Distinguished Chair in Business Administration, is only open to distinguished members of the business community with experience running complex organizations. In this role, McMillan is responsible for teaching two classes, one graduate and one undergraduate, bringing guest speakers to The Citadel and enhancing relationships between the school of business and the business community. Francis W. Hipp, who attended The Citadel from 1929 to 1931, endowed the Hipp Chair in 1983 in honor of his father, W. Frank Hipp.