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Miller Family’s $55M Gift Lifts Miller School, Momentum2 Over Goal

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    UM President Donna E. Shalala thanks Stuart Miller for his family's $55 million Momentum2 gift.

    UM President Donna E. Shalala thanks Stuart Miller for his family’s $55 million Momentum2 gift.

    UM News

    Capping President Donna E. Shalala’s last commencement ceremony, Stuart Miller, chair of UM’s Board of Trustees and the Miller School of Medicine Momentum2 campaign, announced a “breakthrough” gift of $55 million from his family on May 9. The gift from UM’s longtime supporters was greeted with cheers by the medical school graduates, faculty, families and friends, and lifted the University over its $1.6 billion Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami goal, a stunning accomplishment that occurred more than a year ahead of schedule.

    The Miller family’s gift will provide $50 million to build a new state-of-the-art medical education building on the campus of the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, which surpassed its school-based $1 billion fundraising goal. The remaining $5 million will support the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music.

    Combined with the $1.4 billion raised during the first Momentum campaign, President Shalala, who is stepping down at the end of the academic year, has raised more than $3 billion during a stellar 14-year term as president.

    The total of $1,618,034,779 raised to date for Momentum2 is from a record 137,890 donors. During the campaign, donors contributed 261 gifts of $1 million or more. A total of 30 endowed chairs and professorships also were established, which will have a significant and enduring impact on the recruitment of outstanding faculty. The campaign also generated unprecedented levels of giving from University alumni, trustees, and parents, with total contributions from alumni at $401 million, trustees at $302 million, and parents at over $123 million. More than 30 percent of M2’s donors are alumni, constituting the largest number of alumni donations in UM’s campaign history.

    Momentum2 was launched publicly in February 2012 with a lead gift of $100 million from the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. Other high notes include nearly $202 million raised for scholarships and student support, and more than $226 million for buildings and equipment, including 28 facility projects that will transform the face of the University in the years ahead. UM already has seen the impact of the campaign through the recent onset of construction or openings of the Donna E. Shalala Student Center, the Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence, The Lennar Foundation Medical Center, the Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios, and the renovations of the Toppel Career Center and the Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life.

    “Our family couldn’t be prouder of our commitment to the University,”  Stuart Miller said. “We felt our gift was a significant way to continue the advancement of the UM medical school enterprise that is such an important segment of our community, to honor President Shalala’s many contributions to the University and our community, and to recognize the leadership of Momentum2 campaign co-chairs Leonard and Jayne Abess, and Sergio Gonzalez and his team, whose tireless efforts have made it all possible. Our community has a lot to be proud of. Raising $3 billion is an incredible feat.”

    The Millers are one of Miami’s most distinguished and civically engaged families, and their latest gift builds on the family’s $100 million donation to UM in November 2004, the largest gift from a family in University history, which named the school in honor of the late Leonard M. Miller, a UM lifetime trustee and former chair of the UM Board of Trustees. In October, UM announced that The Lennar Foundation, the charitable arm of The Lennar Corporation—which Leonard Miller founded and where his son Stuart, the current chair of the UM board, is chief executive officer —gave a lead gift of $50 million to make possible The Lennar Foundation Medical Center on the Coral Gables Campus. Including their most recent gift, the Miller family’s total giving to the University represents more than $221 million investment in higher education and health care.

    “The Miller family truly believes in the University of Miami,” said President Shalala. “This latest gift to fund a new educational building for our Miller School of Medicine is an investment in a new generation of leaders in medicine and health care. Ultimately, our entire community will benefit from this gift.”

    Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., senior vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Miller School of Medicine, and CEO of UHealth, who led the $1 billion campaign for the Miller School with Stuart Miller, said, “The Miller family’s exceptional generosity will allow UM to attract and train the very best and brightest medical students, who will now be educated in the most technically advanced educational environment in the country, and to transform health care not only for South Florida, but for the entire U.S. and beyond.”

    The Miller family’s philanthropy has touched many areas of the University, including the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies and the Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life at UM Hillel. Both Leonard Miller and his wife, Sue, received honorary doctoral degrees from UM, and Stuart is a University of Miami alumnus. In addition, Stuart’s brother, Jeffrey, and brother-in-law and UM trustee Steven Saiontz also graduated from the University. His sister, Leslie, is a well-known philanthropist in the community.

    The capital campaign has been led by a prominent and dedicated group of volunteers who serve as university-wide campaign chairs and vice chairs and school-based campaign chairs.

    “This campaign has been about people wanting to make a difference in the world and giving to an institution that does so much for our community and beyond,” said Leonard Abess, former chair of UM’s Board of Trustees and Momentum2 co-chair with his wife, Jayne. “We salute the Miller family and believe that their dedication will inspire others to continue to support an institution that truly benefits the people of South Florida.”

    The University’s first billion-dollar fundraising effort, Momentum: The Campaign for the University of Miami, surpassed its $1 billion goal ahead of schedule and then went on to raise an unprecedented total of $1.4 billion by its completion in 2007. That marked the first time that a private university established in the 20th century had reached a billion-dollar fundraising goal.

    “The Miller family has been crucial in the success of both Momentum campaigns,” said Sergio M. Gonzalez, UM Senior Vice President for University Advancement and External Affairs. “Their extraordinary generosity has raised the bar on philanthropic leadership in a way that is deeply personal, inspiring, and humbling. We are so grateful to all our donors who helped us surpass the $3 billion milestone. Every gift is making a meaningful and lasting difference.”

    To learn more about the University of Miami’s successful Momentum2 campaign, visit

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