Dr. Jerry D. Miller, long-time faculty member, Dean, and supporter of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business passed away on March 17, 2020, at the age of 81.
Dr. Miller taught finance at West Texas A&M University from 1970-1998 and served as Dean of the College of Business from 1979-1988, and again from 1993-98. During his tenure as dean, Dr. Miller brought his entrepreneurial instincts, his interest in a wide variety of investments, and his love of international experiences to the lives of his students. Dr. Miller’s passion was to prepare students for success by connecting them to both local business leaders and players on the national stage, especially former students whom he often brought to campus to speak.
Through Dr. Miller’s connection with John Marmaduke at Amarillo-based Hastings Entertainment, Dr. Miller was introduced to a student organization called Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). The executive officers at Hastings had judged at the SIFE regional competition in Dallas, where they were impressed with the skills students gained from the organization.
SIFE (now called Enactus) nourished the entrepreneurial spirit, taught how market economies and businesses work, and gave students hands-on project management experience. Students also developed poise and communication skills in the preparation and presentation of their projects to panels of top business executives in regional and national competition.
To benefit SIFE and encourage entrepreneurship, Dr. Miller endowed the Miller Professorship of Entrepreneurship in 2010. The Professorship is held by the Enactus faculty advisor and the endowment funds provide faculty travel in support of the Enactus competition team.
Dr. Neil Terry, current WTAMU Executive Vice President and Provost, and Dean of the College of Business at the time, had the following to say in an interview with the Canyon News when the professorship was announced: “During his time as dean, Dr. Miller moved the College of Business toward a stronger focus on academic research as a way to enhance quality teaching, established Students in Free Enterprise, enhanced the Student Managed Investment Fund, and opened the door to the world by committing to international recruitment along with international and online delivery of the MBA program.”
If you are interested in contributing to the Jerry Miller Scholarship, please contact the WT Foundation at 806-651-2070.