Celebrating 60 Years of Innovation at the Roger Milliken Center

This year, Milliken celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Roger Milliken Center, home to our global headquarters and corporate innovation center. Acknowledged upon its opening in 1958 as “one of the most elaborate scientific research centers in the world,” this former peach orchard became a place to centralize the development of new Milliken textile, chemical and flooring innovations. Over 80 percent of Milliken’s accumulated U.S. patents have been developed at the Spartanburg campus, many of which were fundamental in transforming Milliken into a leading global innovation company.

The Spartanburg-based Milliken team gathered at a tree planting, followed by a company celebration, on October 2nd. “Sixty years ago, the Roger Milliken Center was developed to bring the brightest minds together to shape the next chapter of Milliken’s future,” Halsey Cook, Milliken & Company president and CEO, shared. “This campus continues to nurture and support all of the important characteristics we see in Milliken that have built our current success and will support our continued strength and leadership.”

Noting how trees have been a physical manifestation of Milliken’s commitment to the future, six cultivars of new oaks — one for each decade — were planted in the Milliken Arboretum during the first week of October to mark the anniversary. With these additions, the Milliken Arboretum will feature every type of current oak that thrives in the southeast.

IMG_2489Halsey Cook plants the Southern Live Oak. Joining him is Natacha Karambizi, one of the newest associates to join RMC; Stewart Winslow, Wofford College horticulturalist and former Milliken associate who worked closely with Roger Milliken for over 30 years to create the arboretum; and Joyce Outz, one of the longest tenured current RMC associates.

The new oaks will not reach full maturity during our lifetime, a hallmark quality for Milliken’s noble tree collection. “As committed as we are to the good we can do today, we are as committed to the health and well-being of generations to come,” Cook continued. “Trees are one way we plan for future generations and how they will hopefully inherit an earth and Spartanburg community from us that is better than we found it.”

Allen Smith, Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce CEO

Following the tree planting, Milliken hosted a company celebration with current and retired associates, important contributors to the Milliken Arboretum’s design, and guest speaker Allen Smith, CEO of the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce. Smith shared, “there has not been a meaningful collaborative partnership in Spartanburg that has not included Milliken.”

Today, the Roger Milliken Center is home to almost 1,000 Upstate associates and welcomes thousands of guests and community partners each year. The campus’ iconic mid-century architecture and vast park-like grounds continue to make a statement within the Spartanburg landscape, nodding to Milliken’s continuing leadership in innovation and community partnership. The global headquarters’ extensive research, testing, analytical and prototyping capabilities remain vital as we look to create the next generation of Milliken innovations.

Explore more photos of the celebration in our 60th-anniversary Facebook album.