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The Board and staff of the Burnet Institute are saddened to hear of the passing of Nancy Milils AC, 90, a pioneering microbiologist and a powerful advocate for medical research.
Professor Millis received a Bachelor of Agricultural Science in 1945, a Master of Agricultural Science in 1948 and a Doctorate in Science with Honours in 1993, all from the University of Melbourne.
For more than 30 years, Professor Millis worked at the Department of Microbiology at the University of Melbourne and worked hard to link universities and industry.
Professor Millis was on the Fairfield Hospital Board and strongly supported the creation of a dedicated research unit, which evolved over time into what is the Burnet Institute.
Institute Founding Director, Professor Ian Gust AO knew Professor Millis since he was a student and was a great admirer.
“She was a trailblazer at the University and in the days before women’s lib, was a liberated woman, who stood up for herself, expressed her opinions vigorously and was treated with great respect and as an equal.
She was a pioneer and a genuine authority in the field of fermentation, a distinguished wine judge, a passionate supporter of Universities and former Chancellor of La Trobe, a wonderful dinner companion, a great raconteur and a woman with wide interests and a wide circle of friends of all ages.
Until her accident, despite some health problems she continued to come to her office in the Department most days, to thrill the graduate students and staff with her stories at morning and afternoon tea, rail against stupidity and humbug and lunch with a group of much younger cronies at University House, of which she is a past President.
To paraphrase the European Ryder Cup Captain at the closing ceremony of the recent event talking about Seve Ballsteros whose death inspired the Europeans shock win… ‘everyone has to die, but only some people really live’ It would be a fitting epitaph for Nancy.”