Martin L. Millspaugh was born on December 16, 1925. After attending the local Gilman School he went on to serve for two years in World War II in the U.S. Army 20th Air Force. Upon his return to the United States, Millspaugh graduated summa cum laude from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs at Princeton University in the Class of 1947.
After his education, Millspaugh began a career as a journalist, first for the News Leader in Richmond, Virginia and later the Baltimore Evening Sun in Maryland, where he was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Baltimore Plan of Neighborhood Rehabilitation and the origin of the national program of urban development and renewal at the local and national scale.
From 1957 to 1960, Millspaugh was Assistant Commissioner of the U.S. Urban Renewal Administration (now part of the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development).
From 1965 to 1985 he was Chief Executive of the non-profit, public-private corporation that he created to manage the implementation of Baltimore's Charles Center-Inner Harbor Redevelopment Program.
After the substantial completion of the Inner Harbor development in 1985, Millspaugh became President and then Vice Chair of the non-profit Enterprise Development Companies, of Columbia, Maryland. He was responsible for the creation of the companies' international consulting business, utilizing Baltimore's Inner Harbor as a model for other cities' public and private "place-making" projects on five continents.
While at Enterprise, he served on the Board of a partner organization, Merlin International Properties, Ltd., based in the Isle of Man.
In 2005, he became Chairman of the non-profit corporation that created Global Harbors, a documentary film based on "City Alive," the presentation that Millspaugh had prepared for other public and private decision-makers from cities around the world, who wished to learn about the Baltimore Renaissance as a model for their own waterfront redevelopment programs.
Millspaugh was selected by the Greater Baltimore Committee to receive its Annual Award for Civic Achievement in 1981. He was also named an Honorary Member of the international Urban Land Institute, where he served on the Institute's International and Urban Development Councils, and was the founding Chairman of the Institute's Baltimore Council. He has lectured at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and NYU, and served as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Johns Hopkins University Real Estate Institute.
He was a member of Advisory Boards of the Baltimore Aquarium, the Columbia University School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Twentieth Century Fund, the Waterfront Center, UMBC President’s Council and the Maryland Secretary of Transportation.
In Baltimore, he has served as a Trustee or Director for the Enoch Pratt Free Library, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Association, Metropolitan YMCA, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the Savings Bank of Baltimore, Baltimore Equitable Society, World Trade Center Institute and the Roland Park Civic League, among others.