Millman scholarship to honour a legacy of service

December 03, 2019

Brock Millman

In December 2018, the Department of History lost a dear friend, colleague, and teacher with the passing of Professor Brock Millman. Millman inspired students and colleagues alike with his expansive knowledge, dedication to teaching, intellectual generosity, and commitment to service. Now alumni and faculty of the department are coming together to honour his memory.

Millman was a scholar with a wide range: he published books on many subjects, including Anglo-Turkish relations and Canada during the First World War. Along with his academic position, Millman was a Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forced, Commanding Officer for the 4 RCR in London, Commanding Officer of the 31 CBG Battle School, and Commander of 31 Canadian Brigade Group.

In 2010, Brock deployed to Afghanistan in nation-building efforts as a Senior Advisor to the Afghan Ministry of Defence. Upon his return, he was committed to supporting veterans retuning from active military duty, particularly those struggling with PTSD.

Jacob Damstra first met Millman as a student in Millman’s 4th year International Relations course. At the same time, Damstra was a junior officer in the 1st Hussars and Millman was the Brigade Commander. When Damstra returned to Western to complete a law degree and an MA in History, he stayed in touch with Millman.

“He was a good mentor and resource and I know he had that relationship with others as well, regardless of whether they had involvement in the military,” said Damstra.

Following Millman’s passing, there was “a general consensus that something should be done to honour his legacy,” said Francine McKenzie, Chair of the Department of History.

According to McKenzie, because of Millman’s ‘strong sense of responsibility and commitment to teaching’, it is fitting to establish a student award in his name.  His students -  who were among his biggest fans – also wanted to commemorate their teacher. Jacob Damstra suggested that the award should give preference to students in the armed forces as a way to fuse the two pieces of Millman’s professional life.

Damstra said Millman had a great impact on him “as a student, but in particular as a student who was simultaneously trying to complete military reserve training and establish a career based on service, in military and private sector.”

To help establish the fund, the group is seeking donations from students, alumni, and members of the university community at large.

For Damstra, the scholarship is was a way to “give back to him, after his passing, in a way that would be respectful of, and proportionate to impact he had on me, to help that impact keep going forward.”

Damstra said he hopes the scholarship is able to support other students who are service-minded, but who might not have the benefit of Millman’s mentorship and guidance.

The Brock Millman Memorial Student Award. It will be presented annually to an undergraduate student for outstanding achievement in a History or International Relations program, with preference given to students who have served (or are serving) in the Canadian military.

To provide support to the award, donations can be made through:;jsessionid=00000000.app258a?NONCE_TOKEN=6B72FE8137EBC14683860E2CA5460874.