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Hudson Alpha honors co-founder’s legacy

HUNTSVILLE, Ala - Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology is mourning the loss of one of their co-founders. Lonnie McMillian passed away last month. He was 90-years-old. His colleagues say he will be remembered as a man who not only cared about science and technology but also a person who strived to improve his community.

Lonnie McMillian's picture stands at the lobby of Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology. His career didn't begin here. He founded ADTRAN, a leading global provider of networking and communications equipment

"His name is on a lot of patents. He's done a lot of really fundamental electrical engineering," said James Hudson, Hudson Alpha co-founder.

That wasn't his only interest.

"He was just was quite a brilliant man he came to my company and was interested in learning about biotech," Hudson said.

This sparked a friendship that would eventually lead the two to the ribbon cutting ceremony of Hudson Alpha, which was formed with three missions.

"Genomics research, educational outreach, and economic development or the commercialization of discoveries," Hudson said.

Hudson says though McMillian was an essential part of the nonprofit's growth over the past ten years, that's not all his friend will be remembered for.

"He was an incredible guy, the most generous person that I have ever met," Hudson said.

McMillian's name can be found on the Hudson Alpha Foundation Society of Giving.

"He absolutely would not want people to know what he did. He did things truly anonymously. This is the most public thing I believe he's done, but it's not the biggest thing he's done," Hudson said.

He will be remembered as a person who truly cared about his fellow man. "He really wanted to leave the world a better place," Hudson said.

And even though he's gone, McMillian will always be part of Hudson Alpha and this campus. "McMillian Park, which is named after Lonnie, goes right down the center of the campus."

Hudson says the mission of the nonprofit will continue and he will always honor the legacy of Lonnie McMillian Hudson Alpha is continuing to grow. There are currently four buildings on the campus. Hudson says eventually they would like to have 14.

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