Milford Christenson


IUN Chancellor's Medallion (2013)
IUN Chancellor's Medallion
Location: Gary
Presenter: William J. Lowe
IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award (2012)
Z.G. Clevenger Award (2008)
B.S., 1947


Milford Christenson is president of Highland-based Christenson Chevrolet and is well-known for his generosity to the Griffith school's sports teams, Indiana University, Purdue and Purdue University Calumet, and to local churches, civic organizations, and state and national charities.

Christenson grew up during the Depression and worked at his father's hardware and furniture stores, construction business and coal-delivery business. During his high school years, he was a member of the basketball team and a student manager of its football team. When Christenson came to IU for college, he wanted the same job, and strongly pursued the position, eventually receiving it. However, during his senior year, World War II interrupted his studies. Christenson was sent to Europe as a member of General Patton's Third Army, and was in the Battle of the Bulge. He served as a radio operator and earned a Bronze Star for his service.

Christenson eventually graduated from IU in 1947 with a degree in cost accounting and industrial management, his experiences with the football team serving as a big factor in his life-long dedication to the school and its athletics. He is a member of IU's Alumni Association and served as a member of its Varsity Club Board for a decade. In the 1970's he was made a member of the team's 12th Man Club after he made a large donation for remodeling IU's football stadium dressing rooms.

In 1951, Christenson and his family bought a Chevrolet dealership in Griffith; twelve years later the dealership moved to a new building that is still its current location, on Indianapolis Boulevard. By 2001, Christenson Chevrolet was named Indiana Dealer of The Year, by Time Magazine, and was listed number three or four out of 87 dealerships in the Chicago/Northwest Indiana zone.

Christenson has served his community as a 25-year member of the town's volunteer fire department, and 47-year member of the Rotary Club, Veterans of Foreign War Post 9982 and American Legion Post 66. He also served on the Griffith Board of Education for 15 years. For many years, Christenson also was on the Board of Directors for the First Bank of Whiting, which is now Centier Bank.

Christenson and his wife, Margaret, are supporters of many IU organizations, including the Well House Society, Friends of Music, Camp Brosius, Hoosiers for Higher Education and the Woodburn Guild. The family has made Camp Brosius a summer tradition, attending it for 23 years with their children, grandchildren, and other family members. Their significant investment in the property is transforming the landscape and preserving this university tradition. They steadfastly support IU athletics as well, including the IU Stadium Club, the Twelfth Man Club and the courtesy car program.

An IU degree is a family tradition with the Christensons. Both Milford and Margaret graduated from IU Bloomington, and so did their two children, Dean and Dana.