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Inside Iowa State
June 11, 1999

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Q: Tell us more about Wendell Miller, whose estate funds the Miller lectureships, Miller awards, etc.

A: F. Wendell Miller, an attorney and farm manager from Rockwell City, died in March 1995 at the age of 97. His will stipulated that the bulk of his estate create the Miller Endowment Trust, with income from the trust divided equally between Iowa State and the University of Iowa and used primarily for scholar-ships, concerts and lectures at the universities. Iowa State receives about $775,000 annually from the trust. The two university presidents are its trustees.

Miller was born in Altoona, Ill., and grew up in Rockwell City. He graduated from Grinnell College and Harvard Law School and practiced law in Chicago for the Santa Fe Railroad. His friendship with Iowa State began when he returned to Rockwell City to manage his parents' farms and practice law.

Miller rented out his farms, but when he needed farm management guidance, he looked to Carl Hamilton, former vice president of development. Their friendship lasted more than 25 years. Hamilton also put Miller in touch with agricultural faculty and researchers at Iowa State.

Miller never married, but he liked to entertain. His home in Rockwell City had a third-floor dance floor. In addition to his residence, Miller's estate included 31 farms totaling nearly 7,200 acres in Calhoun, Sac and Webster counties; stocks; bonds; mortgages; cash and other assets.

With income from the Miller estate, Iowa State has created the Miller Faculty Development Fellowship and Graduate Fellowship programs and undergraduate scholarships. Trust income also has paid for Veishea entertainment, the fall symphony concert, departmental lectures (partial) and interdisciplinary research.

Sources: ISU news files, Vice President for Business and Finance

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