John Millspaugh ’96

2003 Young Alumni Award

View all Young Alumni Award recipients

John Millspaugh exemplifies the life lived intentionally. The son of two Methodist ministers, he carefully considered several worldviews before finding his intellectual and spiritual home in Unitarian Universalism. Following graduation, Millspaugh worked for the Humane Society, then volunteered in a Missouri family service agency through AmeriCorps VISTA. In pursuit of training for social change, he enrolled in Harvard Divinity School. Realizing that effectiveness required an understanding of government and business, he also entered Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, graduating with master’s degrees from each school in 2001.

For three years Millspaugh served the president of the Unitarian Universalist Association as his assistant for social justice. There he worked with national political and religious leaders on such issues as child poverty, campaign finance reform and nuclear proliferation. He co-authored a speech addressed to an audience of 750,000 at the Millennium March on Washington for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights. Twice he connected leaders in India’s anti-slavery movement to awards that brought them international support, recognition and protection. For a year he worked with Native Americans in Cleveland on social justice issues.

Macalester philosophy Professor Karen Warren called Millspaugh an "outstanding, intellectually gifted student," and wrote: "John Millspaugh is one of the most spiritually generous, kind, caring, gentle, mature and outgoing people I have ever met."

Millspaugh has written for his denomination’s national magazine, UU World, on his commitment to universal compassion and respect, which he lives out, in part, by eating as a vegan and boycotting other animal products. In September Millspaugh became pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Church of South County in Mission Viejo, Calif. He is working on a book tentatively entitled Unitarian Universalists and Other Animals.