Tech Pioneer Mildenhall Honored at Retirement Party


Joe Mildenhall reflected on his time at the GCU at his retirement Wednesday.

Photo/slideshow by Ralph Freso

Joe Mildenhall On Wednesday afternoon, the company celebrated its pioneering work in online learning systems at a retirement party at the Grand Canyon University student hall.

Mildenhall’s platform helped the University of Phoenix grow into an online education powerhouse, and in 2009 he was named GCU President. Brian Mueller To complete a task that does the same on the GCU.

“To retire at your age and to say that I was an integral part of two of the greatest transitions higher education has ever undergone … we were part of two miracles,” Müller said. , an online learner using a system he helped build. “And you built it. You built it.”

GCU President Brian Muller Speeches at Joe Mildenhall’s Retirement Ceremony.

A longtime GCU chief information officer, he began developing the system in 1998 at the University of Phoenix. “It was running on someone’s desk in San Francisco and supporting 3,000 students,” he told colleagues and friends at the rally. He helped 70,000 people in three years.

Despite some hiccups along the way, Mildenhall contributed to the resolution on Wednesday with a calm and steady demeanor that many admired. He kept his phone by his bed like a doctor on duty in the tech field. He said it kept him motivated to improve the system.

During the crisis of a system shutdown many years ago, he recounted the thrill of finding the special person in the instructor’s post who brought the system down.

“It was fun diagnosing,” he said. “I love challenges and how to solve problems.”

All the while he kept his cool, he said. Kathy ClaypatchChief Information Officer at GCU and a longtime colleague.

“I learned a lot from Joe, how to stay flexible and adapt to whatever happens in the changing world of technology,” she said. “Keep your cool no matter what happens.”

Müller said Mildenhall’s unique skill set—not just technology, but understanding how people teach and learn—has helped the university grow its online enrollment to 90,000. He said this was a key factor in helping GCU’s ground campus grow.

Mike Manrod (right) from the IT department presents Joe Mildenhall with a 3D-printed purple halo.

Mildenhall has been a key cog in improving GCU’s learning management system, from Angel, which launched in 2021, to LoudCloud to Halo.

On Wednesday, he was given a 3D-printed “purple halo” that was placed on the crown of his head with a smile on his face.

Mildenhall praised the team he worked with.But Executive Director of Campus Technology John Kahlua He said Mildenhall’s coaching has guided his career, especially “Can we do this?” Email.

“Every one of them made me think differently or challenged me to do something I’d never seen before,” Kahlua said. “I have never met a mentor who naturally trained me without saying that I would train you.”

chief technology officer Direc Marsh He also went to the drugstore to buy medicine, and praised his personal attention. “It’s the little things like that. I don’t want to talk about work. It’s what’s on the outside that’s what makes us special.”

The Senior Vice President of Curriculum and Publishing says, “Dr. Pepper is a large-scale diet” with gentle guidance while drinking Mark AlexanderMildenhall guided his colleagues with graceful perseverance.

Joe Mildenhall (right) and his wife Mary speak with President Brian Mueller after his severance.

“I loved working here at the Grand Canyon,” Mildenhall said. “It’s really special to be here and to be able to deal with students who are making an impact. It’s like waking me up every morning.”

After the program, he said he plans to spend more time visiting his 10 grandchildren in California and Texas. He will occasionally walk around the campuses he helped build.

“I don’t really think about it when I’m doing it. It’s incremental. But when you look back at what you’ve built over the years and what it’s doing, it’s amazing,” he said. Told.

He can’t forget the day it reminded him of everything.

“It’s the first game in the new arena,” he said of the GCU Arena, which opened in 2011. “Seeing so many people coming from where we started made me settle on how much we’ve grown the university.”

To contact Grand Canyon University Senior Writer Mike Killen: [email protected] or call 602-639-6764.


Relevant content:

GCU News: GCU Online Education Innovator Leads Advancement for 25 Years

GCU News: No halo illumination: GCU switches to its own LMS

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