Robert “Bob” Miller, husband of former SDSU President Peggy Gordon Miller, died April 7 at the age of 83. He was not only an SDSU fanatic but also a significant donor and honored as a Distinguished Alumnus for Service at the university.
“Bob had an amazing ability to inspire others to achieve new goals and then hold us accountable to getting it done,” said Dana Dykhouse, co-chair of the SDSU Foundation’s Board of Trustees, of which Miller was a member. “He really was a great man.”
Miller graduated from SDSU in 1949 and in 1986 became a volunteer for the SDSU Foundation, serving as vice chair of the Development Committee. He was a key contributor in starting SDSU’s Jackrabbit Guarantee Endowment scholarship program.
Miller and his wife Peggy, along with other foundation members, helped develop the Jackrabbit Guarantee in an attempt to keep SDSU’s enrollment high.
“The number of students in South Dakota was shrinking and we had to find a way to keep them coming in, so we came up with the Jackrabbit Guarantee,” Dykhouse said. “Bob was really a key in helping us get it done and get it done quickly.”
The Jackrabbit Guarantee provides qualifying students with a minimum of $1,000 per year. Thousands of donations from various alumni and friends of SDSU finance the scholarship program.
“He was someone who was truly committed to students,” said Marysz Rames, vice president for Student Affairs. “He wanted to make sure that they had what they needed to continue coming to school and helping the campus grow.”
Miller also helped develop the Innovation Campus research park, whose entrance leading to the Innovation Center was named Miller Parkway in honor of his efforts.
“Bob was an absolute delight to be around and he really took over a room when he came into it,” said Rames. “He was kind and caring and just a really great asset to the university and a great person to be around.”
Among the many things Miller did for SDSU’s Foundation included helping with the Visions for the Future capital campaign, which has surpassed its $50 million goal, hitting the $52 million mark. Nearly one third of that money goes to scholarships for incoming SDSU students.
Miller and his wife, Peggy, are known as two of the most “influential” people on SDSU’s campus, said Steve Erpenbach, President and CEO of the SDSU Foundation.
“I can think of two passions in Bob’s life,” said Erpenbach. “The first was his love for anything SDSU and the second was his love for his wife.”
President Emeritus Peggy Gordon Miller has asked that any contributions that people want to make in her husband’s honor go to the Jackrabbit Guarantee Endowment scholarship. Donations can be sent to the SDSU Foundation.