As a businessman and community leader, Milton F. Fillius, Jr. '44 played a key role in shifting San Diego’s dependence on a postwar military-based economy by promoting efforts to attract new businesses to the city. His forthrightness and powers of persuasion earned him high praise from business and civic leaders alike. But it was after his retirement in 1983 as president of the Vita-Pakt Citrus Products Co. that he devoted himself to his three true loves — philanthropy, jazz and Hamilton.
A trustee of the College from 1982 until his death 20 years later, Fillius served for many years as chairman of the Drown Foundation where he helped distribute funds to numerous charitable institutions, including Hamilton. In addition to the Drown Prize Scholarship and the Drown Loan Fund, which support some 100 students each year, the foundation was instrumental in 1995 in creating Hamilton’s Jazz Archive, a collection that today boasts more than 250 videotaped interviews with jazz musicians, arrangers, writers and critics.
A lover of jazz — particularly mainstream jazz and swing — Fillius lent impetus to a series of annual concerts on campus, bringing to the Hill such jazz legends as Joe Williams,Milt Hinton,Marian McPartland and George Shearing. These world-class musicians fittingly took to the stage in the Fillius Events Barn, named in his honor in 1993.