Role models can have an extraordinary impact on one’s personal and professional life. As president of Salt Lake Community College, I myself have been privileged to learn from many inspiring people through the years. I’ve witnessed the power of role models among students, as they are taking their first steps on their higher education path.
Among the role models in my life is philanthropist and businesswoman Gail Miller. As the owner of the Larry H. Miller Company and chair of the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation, Gail is one of the most successful business professionals in the United States and a powerful force in building our community for the better.
In October, Gail and the Miller Family Foundation generously gifted $10 million to transform SLCC’s School of Business. This gift is unprecedented for the college and will benefit generations of students as they pursue bright futures for themselves and their families.
To honor this gift and show our immense gratitude, we have named our Business School the Gail Miller School of Business, the only business school in Utah and one of a handful in the country to be named solely after a woman.
While this new name amplifies Gail’s amazing skills as a business leader and the success she has achieved through hard work, courage, integrity and giving, it also serves to inspire our business students, especially those who are women.
Gail Miller’s influence is a tremendous signal to young women everywhere that they, too, belong in the C-suite. With women comprising nearly 57% of SLCC graduates and with business as the second-most popular major at the college, this name change comes at a perfect time, when thousands of students each year will be motivated by Gail’s many accomplishments and her drive to do good.
This gift will allow SLCC to renovate and expand our 50,000-square-foot business building to include a larger, high-tech auditorium, Kickstarter spaces for entrepreneurs and upgraded learning environments. SLCC will offer more high-impact learning opportunities in our business curricula, such as our new Business Scholars Program that will require students to create cause-related projects that are connected to our community and benefit those in need. The goal is to encourage students to infuse generosity into their learning and work with each other in the spirit of good faith and goodwill. This directly reflects the Millers’ modus operandi.
We are grateful and extremely proud to partner with Gail Miller and the Miller family, and we appreciate what they have modeled for others in Utah, and nationwide, to use their good fortune to lift up others. Gail Miller said it perfectly during her gift announcement: “Share what you have. Use your time, talents and resources to serve. … Giving back and paying it forward will not only help those around you but will give you a new perspective.” Salt Lake Community College looks forward to many years of encouraging our students to find success as the Millers have, by being positive role models and in serving our community.
Dr. Deneece G. Huftalin is president of Salt Lake Community College, Utah’s largest two-year college, educating the state’s most diverse student body in eight areas of study at 10 locations and online.