Milan Area Schools

100 Big Red Drive • Milan, Michigan 48160 • Tel. 734-439-5050
Milan Area Schools » Hall of Fame

Academic Hall of Fame

The 2006 Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held March 12th and 13th, 2007 at Milan High. This year’s inductees include author/actress Denise Nicholas, physicist Jim O’Donnell, and civic leader Isabel Schultz.

2006 Hall of Fame

Jim O’Donnell graduated in 1986 from Milan High School. While at Milan High, he was all-state in swimming, including swimming on the state championship teams for 1984 and 1985. After high school, Jim attended University of Michigan, majoring in Aerospace engineering and continued swimming. He graduated Cum Laude, and was named to the All Big Ten Academic Swim team. While at U of M, he worked on the initial design trade-off analysis for the SunRuner, Michigan’s first place entry at the World Solar Challenge Race.

Jim continued on with school, earning a doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin in Physics. After earning his degree, he served as a professor of physics at the University of Illinois.

In 2000, Jim accepted a position at Intel Corporation, as a senior engineer. He was involved with the manufacturing process for Intel microprocessors. He then moved into Intel’s Polymer Memory Research Program, performing the physics of a new high speed, non-volatile memory technology based on ferroelectric polymer material. He continues at Intel as Senior Quality and Reliability Engineer.

He has been published in more than fifteen professional journals and presented at more than ten scientific conferences.

Denise Nicholas graduated from Milan High in 1961. After attending the University of Michigan (and later graduating from the University of Southern California), Denise went on to a career in acting and writing. During the early years, she was active with the Free Southern Theater in Mississippi and Louisiana, a touring theater that worked side by side with the voter registration projects of the civil rights movement. She went on to New York to begin her professional career with the Negro Ensemble Company and from there on to a long and varied career in television. She is best known as an actress on the popular shows Room 222 and In the Heat of the Night.

In 2005, Denise launched a second career as a writer with the publication of her first novel, Freshwater Road. The novel has received critical acclaim winning numerous literary kudos including The Zora Neal Hurston/Richard Wright Award for Debut Fiction and the American Library Association’S Black Caucus Award for Debut Fiction. Her novel was a 2005 Book Sense Pick and was selected by five major newspapers—The Detroit Free Press, The Washington Post, Newsday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Chicago Tribune—as one of the best books of 2005.

Denise makes her home in Southern California and is working on her second novel.

Isabelle Schultz, a lifelong Milan resident, entered Milan Public Schools as a kindergartener, graduated from Milan High School in 1946, and majored in journalism at Michigan State College, Class of 1950. In high school she participated in extracurricular activities, held class offices and earned four varsity letters for cheerleading, the only activity in which a varsity letter was awarded to women.

As a freelance writer, Schultz has written for several area newspapers including the Detroit Free Press. She has been a magazine staff writer as well as writer and assistant editor for the University of Michigan graduate school publication, Rackham Reports. She received a special citation from the City of Milan for her in-depth reporting of city government as well as a special award for an Ann Arbor News feature that inspired one of the first meetings of its kind in the country for hospital, police and fire officials on emergency communications for the deaf. She was also first editor of the Milan News.

Isabelle’s involvement and awareness of the community and its needs led to the creation of Milan’s Citizens for Better Schools Committee on which she served for eleven years. Her term as trustee and secretary of the Saline Community Hospital Board, during which she served on and chaired several committees, lasted for sixteen years. When some were advocating tearing down Milan’s historic Old Fire Barn she helped organize a committee and worked to restore it. Her latest effort, the Greater Milan Area Community Foundation, was established in 2005. As a founding member and first president, Schultz calls her work on the foundation her most rewarding achievement to date.

Mission Statement

It is our goal to recognize Milan Area School students and employees that have distinguished themselves by their contributions in their field of work/study, to their individual communities, and to society as a whole. By providing these positive role models to our current students, they will understand the positive impact MHS has made on individuals from our community in the past. This inspiration will provide hope and relevance to our current students in their areas of studies as well as extra-curricular opportunities.


Each year the Hall of Fame committee will induct up to five members to the Hall. At least one induction will be from each of the two main categories.


Alumni/Former Student Contribution: This category will honor former students of Milan Area Schools for their contribution to society, for their academic achievements, and for enhancing the reputation of our school. Former students must have been Milan students for at least five years. These nominees must be 25 years of age to qualify for the Hall of Fame.

Former Staff Member Contribution: This category will honor former Milan Area School staff members, including board members, that have served the Milan community and students, and for their contribution to education. Staff members must be five years removed from service to qualify for the Hall of Fame.

** The Hall of Fame board has the right to waive qualification standards for nominees by unanimous vote. The Hall of Fame will induct individuals posthumously.


There is a wide range of candidates for the Hall of Fame. The committee will make the final decision on the number of inductees, and on the reasoning of choice. The Hall of Fame is not established to exclude individuals, but to honor them. Therefore, any induction choice will be considered appropriate.


Nomination forms (see below) will be provided through normal means of distribution. Anyone may submit a nomination form. All nominees must meet the categories listed above. A nomination form will be good for two years.

Nomination Process

Each board member will review the nomination forms. At the first session, each board member will select five nominations for the board to review. From this session, the board will take the selected nominations for deeper review. At a second session, the board will discuss and vote for selections to the Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame committee

The committee has seven members. Each committee member serves for four years. The initial committee will have two members that serve for three years, three that serve for four years, and two that serve for five years to begin the rotation. Applications to the committee will be accepted. Voting for committee members will be publicized in the Milan News-Leader and conducted by write-in votes. The principal, or his/her designee, will always be a non-voting member of the committee. One member will be a staff member from the school. The school will house the history of applications and nominations.

Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame plaques are located in the hallway heading to the Events Rotunda. Inductees will be given a plaque, and a plaque will also be placed on the hallway. The hallway plaque will include year of induction and a photo.

The committee has the right to rescind Hall of Fame status at any time. For more information, contact Milan High School Principal Ron Reed at 734-439-5000.

Nomination Forms