$14 million gift to Purdue School of Nursing elevates student learning, resources

Written By: Rebecca Hoffa, rhoffa@purdue.edu

Dean Marion K. Underwood, Head of Nursing Pam Karagory, Maureen Miller and Mark Miller pose for a photo

Maureen and Mark Miller (right) pose with Marion K. Underwood, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, and Pam Karagory, head of the School of Nursing. Photo Provided

To further advance student learning in the Purdue University School of Nursing, Purdue alumni Mark and Maureen Miller recently gifted $14 million to endow the headship, contribute toward equipment for the planned Nursing and Pharmacy Education Building, create a new endowed scholarship for the accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, and add substantially to their existing scholarship endowments.

Mark Miller is a 1977 graduate of the Department of Computer Science, and Maureen Miller earned her associate degree in nursing 1973 and her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1976 from the School of Nursing. While Maureen’s connection to the school played a role in their recent gift and previous gifts to the School of Nursing, Mark also spent most of his career in healthcare-related fields at Abbott Laboratories and Stericycle, and both see value in providing the best training and opportunities for future nurses.

“Nursing is really the frontline of care,” Mark said. “It’s the place where the patient is engaged. I think, looking into the future, with what’s going on in artificial intelligence, there will be continued evolution of the successful use of computers, AI and robotics to help in healthcare, whether it be through robotic remote surgeries or through diagnosis and prognosis. But at the end of the day, the delivery of care comes from the nurse, and that’s not something that I can foresee being automated in the future.”

Maureen didn’t start out as a nursing major at Purdue — she initially chose to major in elementary education. It wasn’t until after talking it over with her academic advisor that she realized nursing was the right field for her. As a retired nurse, Maureen noted that she learned the importance of continuing education and learning new skills beyond the classroom throughout her career. Because of this, advancing nursing students’ education has been at the forefront of the Millers’ strategy with their gifts.

All components of their gifts to the School of Nursing have been rooted in student outcomes, from increasing physical infrastructure that will support a greater number of students to attracting high-quality leadership to helping students whose financial situation may otherwise limit their education opportunities.

“That’s really been our goal: to educate young people who may not have chosen Purdue in the beginning or may not have had the resources to go out and just be a really good nurse, taking care of patients in all different areas of nursing,” Maureen said. “I think it has given us a lot of satisfaction that Purdue is able to attract some really wonderful young students into the nursing program.”

The Millers take pride in seeing their gift make a difference. They have noticed the impact on a large scale, as the School of Nursing produces highly skilled nurses who have played important roles in caring for the aging population and meeting the needs of new healthcare demands, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. They also have seen the their gift’s influence in smaller ways, through the individual students.

“We’ve been fortunate to meet some of the students, and we’re hoping to meet more in the future,” Maureen said. “It’s great. I think back at myself over 50 years ago, and I compare myself to these young nurses, and what they are doing is just amazing — coming up with new ideas and ways to practice nursing. It’s really satisfying to see that.”