New York City roots, Gopher heart

For Milton and Danae Andrews, their connection to the U of M started in an unusual way: watching Minnesota Vikings football.   

Living in New York City, Milton was a fan of Fran Tarkenton, a Vikings quarterback who was traded to the New York Giants in 1967. Five years later, when Tarkenton was traded back to the Vikings, Milton watched him play in Minnesota and fell in love with the cold-weather state. Danae became a Vikings fan soon after dating Milton in 1987. Having visited Minnesota for Vikings games, they soon fell in love with University of Minnesota sports, as well, eventually purchasing season tickets for Gopher football, hockey, and basketball.

After surviving a massive heart attack, Milton knew he wanted to spend the next chapter of his life researching incurable diseases. He retired after 27 years with a prominent Manhattan law firm and enrolled at the U’s College of Biological Sciences (CBS) via distance education, flying to Minneapolis to take his exams. He eventually rented an apartment on campus and now splits his time between New York City and Minneapolis while he finishes his master’s degree in biochemistry.

During one of his classes, Milton learned that funding for stem cell research is limited. He and Danae established the Milton and Danae Andrews Human Diseases Research Fund, focused on combating life-altering diseases. They also started the Milton and Danae Andrews Scholarship for Undergraduate Research, which helps CBS students who are researching human medicine or physiology.

The couple’s generosity didn’t stop there. Milton was already impressed by the University’s commitment to diversity, and he was further inspired after reading an article about the U of M Disability Resources Center. He connected with the center and purchased lunch for staff during finals week—a tradition he plans to continue.

John Curry, advancement officer at the College of Biological Sciences, described him in a way that Milton feels encompasses his personal mission: “You are someone who looks around and tries to find out how you can help—and then you do it.”

Milton’s core philosophy: “I want to help make people’s lives better. We need to take care of each other.

The University is deeply grateful for Milton and Danae’s generosity during the Driven campaign.

Related stories

  • Education first
    A University of Washington professor got his love of learning from his parents, who sacrificed throughout their lives to send their children to college.
  • Eye doctor doing exam
    The Gardners fell in love with the U during their short years in Minnesota and have remained deeply connected to the University.