During this time of uncertainty with coronavirus causing our lives to feel shaky, it’s nice to focus on the people, places and businesses that truly anchor our community.
Long-standing local businesses become a part of the fabric here. That theme of “longevity” is something we’re thinking about a lot lately as we reflect on more than five decades in Spartanburg. Today we’re tipping our hat to two local icons and business partners with a century each of longevity: Milliken and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Through their storied leadership and long-term dedication, Spartanburg has indeed grown into the vibrant city that it is today.
In 1947, Roger Milliken took over his family’s company and eventually relocated it to Spartanburg. Under his leadership and guided by research, Milliken’s patented technology is found in many items used in our everyday lives. Think airbag fabric, colored plastics, and floor coverings that use a patented printing technology, to name a few.
As a citizen of Spartanburg, Roger Milliken’s principles of hard work, integrity and life-long education had a tremendous ripple effect in our Spartanburg community. Mr. Milliken was instrumental in GSP International Airport geographically being built in Spartanburg County. This put the Upstate on its path of long -erm growth. Wofford and Converse College’s beautiful campuses also have a Milliken influence. Mr. Milliken loved trees and saw them as a sanctuary for people. Because of this passion, he started the Noble Tree Foundation to enhance the green spaces in and around Spartanburg, and he also created a nationally-recognized arboretum on the campus of Milliken & Co. Enjoyed by all of us, the Milliken Campus is one of the largest corporate greenspaces in the Southeast. When Roger Milliken chose Spartanburg for his textile mills, he changed lives, beautified our community and laid a foundation for our continued growth.
In 1921, folks came from far and wide in horse-drawn buggies to celebrate the opening of “Spartanburg General Hospital.” Its goal was to become one of “the best arranged and equipped hospitals in the South.” Almost a century later, it has lived up to that mission and is now one of South Carolina’s largest healthcare systems, as well as the second largest employer in Spartanburg. Today, Spartanburg Regional offers state-of-the-art care, as well as cutting-edge research institutes like the Gibbs Cancer Center, a Heart Center, multiple regional medical centers, the Bearden-Josey Center for Breast Health, as well as Spartanburg Regional Hospice with one of the longest-serving hospice programs in the Southeast. Together, these arms are part of a larger mission to keep the citizens in Spartanburg healthy, happy and thriving. Only a hospital with this kind of history, longevity, and deeply-rooted commitments to wellness can have such an impact on our community.
To our friends at Milliken and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, we thank you. You have reached beyond your institutional goals to create something so much more for our community by rooting us in health, life-long learning, and a connection to each other and nature. Thank you for your faithful dedication. Here’s to many more years!