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Two alumni of Evanston Township High School have pledged $250,000 to reconstruct two classrooms for the new Algebra in Entrepreneurship program at the school.

Upon fulfillment of the gift, the suite will be named the Milligan Center for Entrepreneurship, in honor of alumni David (’58) and Susan (’60) Milligan, who pledged the gift.

Superintendent Eric Witherspoon, in thanking the Milligans for their “substantial leadership gift,” said it “demonstrates for us the impact our alumni can have in making sure students today and for years to come will continue to experience the ETHS advantage.”

Fran Caan, executive director of the ETHS Educational Foundation, said the classroom setting after the reconstruction will replicate a contemporary business environment with furnishings for board meetings, white boards, technology, and teaming tables to promote collaboration and teamwork.

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Co-taught by Ross Freeland (Math) and Chris Manila (Career/Technical Education), the double-period, interdisciplinary course combines Algebra I contents with entrepreneurship.

It applies math concepts to their practical application in business and offers students the opportunity to create and fully develop their own product or service. It is a format that is similar to the school’s Geometry in Construction course, where students actually build a house, applying geometry concepts learned in the classroom.

School officials contend that Evanston-area entrepreneurs and business experts are lining up to serve as coaches and mentors, helped along by students at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, to guide student teams through an authentic business incubator “start-up” process and get them geared up for “pitch week.” when students present their ideas to potential investors.

“Think of it as ‘Shark Tank’ meets algebra,” explains Peter Bavis, ETHS assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Dr. Milligan, a retired senior vice president and chief scientific officer for Abbott Laboratories, fondly recalls his years as a student at ETHS and has been a generous donor to the Foundation since 2002, according to Caan.

“Sue and I are excited to fund this multi-use center,” said Milligan, “which should help ETHS and its creative faculty continue their exploration of more fun and effective learning experiences to fit the needs of today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders.”

Substantial contributions to the Foundation by ETHS alums have recently been cited for renovations to the school’s Planetarium, its Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory, the Lake Street Tennis Center, and a permanent construction site for the Geometry in Construction program.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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