Milton Cole


Presidents Circle Laurel Pin (2014)
Honorary Degree (2005)
Doctor of Laws
Location: Kokomo
Presenter: Adam William Herbert
IU Kokomo Distinguished Service Award (1999)


Milton Cole has long been a a local philanthropist and community leader in Kokomo, IN. In 1956, Cole moved to Logansport, Indiana, for a job with John I. Shafer Hardwood Company, Inc. He served as general manager for several years. Thirty years later, he bought the business, renaming it Cole Hardwood, Inc. Cole also co-founded Indiana Dimension, Inc. in 1990 as a sister company to Cole Hardwood. His companies have grown to become one of the largest hardwood suppliers in the Midwest.

When a fire destroyed his lumberyard in 1988, Cole, true to his word, stood before his workers less than two days after the fire and promised them that no one would miss a paycheck. He rebuilt the company, overcoming damages worth $14 million. Cole's generosity extends beyond Logansport to the surrounding communities, including Kokomo and its Indiana University Kokomo campus. He provided a $50,000 leadership gift to IUK in 1992 as part of a library campaign and has contributed money to fund the university's Cole Family Scholarships, the Cole Community Room, and the Kresge Science Initiative. He has received business, civic, and professional honors for his charitable and volunteer work, including the 1999 Logansport Exchange Club Book of Golden Deeds, Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year, and the state's highest honor, Sagamore of the Wabash, awarded by the late Governor Frank O'Bannon.

He was the 1999 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from IU-Kokomo Alumni Association and received an honorary degree from IU-Kokomo in 2005.