In 2003, Gary E. and James A. Milgard made a generous gift to UW Tacoma, which led to the naming of the Milgard School of Business. This gift also endowed the Center for Leadership & Social Responsibility.
In July of 1958, Gary Milgard, along with his father, Maury, opened Milgard Glass on South Tacoma Way in Tacoma. They were joined by Gary's brother, Jim, in 1961 and the company grew to become the largest window manufacturer in the Western United States. Milgard Manufacturing was sold to Masco Corporation of Michigan in 2001, but in those 43 years of growing and nurturing Milgard Manufacturing, the Milgard family developed a sustainable business model that continues on at the company today - The Milgard Philosophy.
Developed by Gary in 1984, "the one-page credo, which is posted throughout Milgard offices and meeting rooms, articulates three principles: the individual must be respected; the customer must be given the best possible service; and excellence and superior performance must be pursued." (The Milgard Story, Fenwick Publishing, 2004) Gary Milgard was famous for saying,
"Our business didn't really succeed until I realized that I wasn't in the window business; I was in the people business."
It was that underlying philosophy that inspired Jim and Gary Milgard to fund the Center for Leadership & Social Responsibility. In their agreement to create this center, they said, "Milgard Windows has not only generated profits for its owners but has also been a responsible and involved corporate citizen in its multiple communities. For the Milgard example to take hold and flourish, we need to ensure that tomorrow’s corporate leaders understand the full dimensions of business leadership and the responsibilities that go with it.
Our community mourned the death of Gary Milgard in 2005, and two years later, that of Gary's wife, Carol. Carol helped to develop MG/CAT, or Community Action Teams at all of Milgard's plants - engaging employees in their communities to make them better for all. Carol was actively involved in her community from an early age and continued that work until her passing. She was very involved in the creation and operation of the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation, which continues to support "well-managed, non-profit projects and programs that focus on health, education, youth and social services primarily in Pierce County."
The Center for Leadership & Social Responsibility prides itself in carrying out the vision of the Milgard family, who are charged us to contribute to Tacoma by developing socially responsible business leaders who will build sustainable organizations and communities.