On a beautiful sun-splashed morning a crowd of several thousand people, including Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, and Miami Mayor Manny Diaz gathered on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle as the yellow and green banner announcing the Miller School of Medicine was unfurled amidst fanfare provided by the UM Marching Band and thunderous applause and cheering from those gathered. Joining Sue Miller, Leonard’s widow, in making the announcement were her children Stuart, Jeffrey, and Leslie, and ten of her 11 grandchildren.

“Only once in the history of a great institution does a day like this come along,” said John G. Clarkson, M.D. ’68, senior vice president for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “We now 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 critical needs of the school, as determined by the dean and by University President Donna E. Shalala.

“The gift will allow us to pursue greatness in the community that Leonard loved and that his gifted wife and children continue to serve,” Shalala told the crowd, which included medical faculty, staff, and students. “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.”

In officially accepting the gift, Dean Colson, chairman of the University of Miami Board of Trustees, said, “This generous gift will lead us into a new era of scientific discovery and medical breakthroughs that will benefit our South Florida community and beyond.”

eonard 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 evolved into Lennar Corporation, with nearly $9 billion in annual revenues. Governor Bush reflected on first meeting Miller: “Early on in my budding career in real estate, Leonard Miller was an inspiration in terms of his determination and ability to be successful in his own business and life as well as his ability to give back.”

During his lifetime Miller and his wife, Sue, were longtime supporters of the University of Miami and, in particular, the School of Medicine. Leonard Miller served on the Board of Trustees for 20 years, including four as chairman. He received care at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center during his two-year battle with liver cancer.

“Leonard’s illness gave us a better understanding of what this arm of the University truly represents,” Sue Miller said. “We as a family learned firsthand the true commitment of this medical world, the doctors working around the clock, calling from airports, excitedly returning from seminars with news about something related to Leonard’s illness.”

In giving the gift to the University, Miller said, “We honor each of you and your commitment to humanity. 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.”

The Miller gift helped the University reach $800 million toward its goal of $1 billion by 2007 in the Momentum capital campaign. The medical school has now raised $500 million. President Shalala said a gift such as the Millers’ “stimulates other gifts and helps put us on the map of world-class research universities.

University of Miami Medicine Online
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