Milt Dickos ՚44, a native of Peru, Indiana, had never been to Indianapolis when he first stepped foot on Butler’s campus in 1940. As he looked around the unfamiliar buildings, a fellow student drove by and asked, “Are you going to Butler? Then get in the car; let’s register and find a place to stay.” Dickos would later recall this as the moment he was welcomed into the Butler family, an association he held dear for the rest of his life.
Milt’s son, Dennis Dickos ՚72, recently committed $5 million to Butler University through an estate commitment in memory of his parents. Of the total planned gift, $1 million will be directed to the Sciences Expansion and Renovation Project, while the remaining balance will be used to establish the Milton ՚44 & Theodora Dickos Endowed Scholarship for students studying biology, biochemistry, or chemistry.
Dennis Dickos and his sister Theone ՚76 MS ՚81 both followed in their father’s footsteps, earning degrees at Butler. Dennis says he was inspired to establish a scholarship in his parents’ honor at Butler in part because they supported he and his sister’s Butler education.
“I was fortunate, and my sister was fortunate, that we didn’t have to pay anything, my folks paid for the full ride,” Dickos recalled. “Not all young adults at this point in time have parents with the financial means to pay for all the expenses that go along with school. So, I wanted to help students so that they can go through school not worrying about the financial hardships of obtaining their education.”
Milt himself was able to attend Butler thanks to a scholarship. He was the son of immigrants from Greece who settled in Astoria, New York, where they learned the ice cream and candy business. The family later purchased an ice cream and candy store in Peru, Indiana, where Milt was born and raised. After being offered a scholarship to attend Butler University by the principal of Peru High School, Milt was encouraged by his mother to enroll, becoming the first person in his family to attend college. He made the most of the opportunity, earning a degree in business and serving as president of Student Council and Lamda Chi Alpha.
“My dad loved being at Butler, and that’s the reason why I wanted to make these donations,” Dickos said. “I’m proud of what my mom and dad did for us, and my dad had such a deep love for Butler. I wanted to see their names honored on campus.”
Along with making a 2019 gift to name a classroom in the newly renovated Gallahue Hall in honor of his father, Dennis also chose to have his parents’ names listed in lieu of his own on the sciences lead donor wall in the Atrium of the new sciences expansion building, which opened to the public last fall. The Dickos Endowed Scholarship will exist in perpetuity at Butler, ensuring that many more students will be able to follow in Milt’s footsteps in obtaining a Butler education.
After graduating from Butler and marrying Theodora, Milt partnered with his brother to establish MC Dickos Realty, a real estate and construction firm for homes in Wabash County. Milt was an active member of the Wabash community, serving as president of the Wabash City School Board, president of the Wabash County Realtors Association, and president of the Wabash Chamber of Commerce. He and Theodora retired to Indianapolis, where they were also active members and generous donors to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Carmel.
After earning his own Butler degree in 1972, Dennis went on to attend IU Medical School and began a career as a cardiologist. For the past decade he has served as a mentor at regular roundtable discussions for Butler students interested in exploring careers in healthcare. He is one of many donors who have documented planned gifts during the Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign, which concludes on May 31. Donors have collectively committed more than $72.2 million in planned gifts since the start of the campaign.
“As long as you have the financial ability in your estate planning or even while you’re living, you want to enable students to be able to go to school, reach their dreams, and not have the financial difficulties of large loans and so forth when they graduate,” Dickos said. “So, from my standpoint, individuals that have the financial means to give back to the schools where they went for their education should–it’s important to give them a financial foundation for the benefit of future students.”