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A New Name, A New Era

12/1/2004

UM School of Medicine Receives Historic Gift from South Florida Family

UM President Donna E. Shalala (left) with Susan Miller just after the announcement of the $100 million gift and the renaming of the School of Medicine.

The University of Miami School of Medicine launched a bold new era today with the announcement of a historic $100 million gift from the family of the late Leonard Miller, a longtime South Florida businessman and philanthropist. In recognition of the biggest gift ever to the University of Miami, the School of Medicine will be renamed the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.

"Only once in the history of a great institution does a day like this come along," said John G. Clarkson, M.D., senior vice president for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, during a celebration on the medical campus. "Today we launch a new chapter that will propel us to ever greater heights of medical discovery, medical education, and unparalleled medical care for the people of South Florida, and beyond."

The gift will be used to establish four Miller professorships initially, to recruit the next generation of biomedical scientists, to enhance the medical school’s academic mission, and to meet other pressing needs of the school, as determined by the dean and by University President Donna E. Shalala.

“The gift we are announcing today will allow us to pursue greatness in the community that Leonard loved and that his gifted wife and children continue to serve,”  Shalala said.  “In this golden age of biomedical research, we will with this gift create new knowledge, recruit and educate the next generation of brilliant biomedical scientists, and continue to offer a healing hand to those in need whether rich or poor, young or old.”

Leonard Miller arrived in Miami in 1954 and invested $10,000 from his own pocket into a small home-building company. By the time of his death in 2002, that small company had become Lennar Corporation, with more than $6 billion in annual revenues.

During his lifetime Miller and his wife Susan were longtime supporters of the University of Miami, and in particular the School of Medicine. He served as chairman of the university’s board of trustees during the bold and entrepreneurial development of the School of Medicine, and understood completely the great potential of the School.

"We are very happy to bestow this gift on the University of Miami, and with it we honor each of you and your commitment to humanity," said Susan Miller during the ceremony. "We know the measures of one’s success are not wealth or shrines erected, but the inner strength that comes through hard work and integrity for our fellow man, and knowing that as individuals we can make a difference in this world."

With today’s announcement, Momentum: The Campaign for the University of Miami has raised $800 million toward its billion-dollar goal by the year 2007. The amount raised for the School of Medicine is more than $500 million.

The Miller gift is larger than any other donation to an institution of higher learning in Florida, with the exception of the $220 million donated by Thomas Monaghan to found Ave Maria University in Naples. The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is the eighth medical school nationally to be renamed in honor of its donors.

Among the centers of excellence at the UM Miller School of Medicine are Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (ranked the No. 1 eye hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report), the Diabetes Research Institute, the UM/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the Center on Aging and the Ear Institute.