Jim Milani ’73, political science, says that when he was first approached by Gary Rupert about naming a locker room for the women’s lacrosse team, he thought the late former athletic director and development officer was out of his mind. “Usually, it’s millionaires who get the opportunity to name a building,” says Milani, who’s worked for UMBC since his graduation over four decades ago and currently serves as Director of Administrative Affairs for the College of Engineering and Information Technology (CoEIT), “and I’m not a millionaire.”
But when Rupert reminded him of his family’s consistent presence on campus, and their devotion to the lacrosse program, Milani eventually came around. “We’ve had a long affiliation,” he says, and it was only right to commemorate the family’s commitment to UMBC Athletics in a lasting way.
On April 1, right before the women’s lacrosse team faced off with the UMass Lowell River Hawks, their locker room in the UMBC fieldhouse was dedicated in honor of the Milani Family Endowment. The fund was established in 2009 by Jim Milani, his wife Liz, and his sister Patrice, to support the team, which is currently enjoying a winning season.
Amy Slade, the head coach of the women’s lacrosse team, says the Milanis’ support of the program has been “incredible,” and attributes the relationship to their shared values. “We preach growing as a family, giving to a greater cause, playing for the name on the front and not the back,” she says. “[The Milanis] have set the bar high for others to follow.”
Jim Milani is one of nine siblings, and one of two to graduate from UMBC, the other being his brother Mark Milani ’80, political science. His daughter, Beth Milani Brundage ’02, history, his sister-in-law Jacqueline Abendschoen Milani ’88, psychology, and his niece Meghan Milani ’16, psychology, are all women’s lacrosse alumnae, as well. But while Jim Milani’s parents, Jim and Pat, never played lacrosse themselves, they encouraged all of their children to stay active in sports, leading to an athletic legacy that continues today.
Jim Milani, for his part, wants that legacy to continue: in his remarks shortly before the plaque was unveiled, he told his family to let any future children and grandchildren know they’d be going to UMBC.