Couple donates to Athletics’ Tutoring Enhancement Program

October 7, 2016 | Athletics, News, Advancement
By Paul Helgren

The University of Toledo will receive a substantial donation from Mel and Jean Miller to the Tutoring Enhancement Program in the Rocket Academic Center that will support tutoring needs for all of UT’s student-athletes.

The Millers’ gift will create a new Rocket Launch tutorial program that will provide student-athletes with individual academic coaches to help with time management and study skills. The gift is part of a larger donation from the Millers that also benefits the College of Engineering and UT Medical Center.

Jean and Mel Miller

Jean and Mel Miller

“We are very grateful for this generous gift from Mel and Jean Miller,” said Deputy Athletic Director Dave Nottke. “Their donation will have a tremendously positive impact on the academic well-being of our student-athletes.”

Ericka Lavender, UT assistant athletic director for academics, said the Millers’ gift will have a positive impact on an academic environment that is already thriving. UT recently was awarded the Mid-American Conference Institutional Academic Achievement Award for the fourth time in the last five years. The award is presented annually to the conference institution that achieves the highest overall institutional grade point average for the academic year. UT’s student-athletes had a combined GPA of 3.235 for the 2015-15 academic year.

“This gift will significantly increase the budget of Student-Athlete Academic Services, creating more opportunities to provide one-on-one tutoring and individual academic coaches for our student-athletes,” Lavender said. “On behalf of Student-Athlete Academic Services, we would like to thank the Millers for their donation, which will greatly assist our student-athletes in their pursuit of academic excellence.”

Mel Miller is a former Rocket standout in football and track and field, competing for UT from 1965 to 1969. Miller played on UT’s first MAC Championship football team in 1967, and he earned first-team All-MAC honors as an offensive guard in 1968. On the track, Miller set the school record in the pole vault at 16-0, which also set the record at the Penn Relays and earned him honorable mention Academic All-America honors.

He excelled in the classroom, as well, earning Academic All-MAC honors in 1966. He graduated from UT with a degree in civil engineering in 1970. Miller also received the American Legion Medal for the highest grades in the ROTC program, and later served in the U.S. Army. He was voted into The University of Toledo Varsity T Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.

Jean Miller graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1969 with a degree in education. The Millers were married in 1969. They have two sons and three grandchildren.

“We have been blessed, and this allows us to help others participate in an outstanding educational experience at The University of Toledo,” Mel said.  “Also, we hope this will help to inspire others to participate more fully in giving.

“We believe that it is important for student-athletes to not only develop their athletic skills, but also to successfully complete their academic studies that will lead to a degree in a field that will set the stage for their careers.”

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