Ceremonial Events - Commencement
Honorary Degree Recipient
Doctor of Laws
Leonard Miller ’51 began life modestly in Burlington’s Old North End, but, with intelligence and drive, he shaped an extraordinary career in real estate development and an equally outstanding record in philanthropy. At the celebration of his 55th UVM class reunion, Miller announced a $5 million gift to support the university’s Center for Holocaust Studies, an area of abiding focus for him and his wife, Carolyn Rosen Miller, who died in 2006.
The Millers made their home in Florida, where, in addition to his real estate career – he is the retired vice president and director of Pasadena Homes, Inc. in Hollywood, Florida – Miller also served as the mayor of Indian Creek Village. Carolyn was a highly successful realtor and entrepreneur. Both were strong supporters of UVM’s Center for Holocaust Studies prior to their latest gift. They established the Leonard and Carolyn Miller Endowment, which provides programmatic support and funds for the Miller Symposia, held in alternate years.
UVM’s Center for Holocaust Studies celebrates and perpetuates the achievement and legacy of Raul Hilberg, author of The Destruction of the European Jews, widely regarded among scholars as the seminal work on the Holocaust. Hilberg taught at UVM from 1956 to 1991 and initiated Holocaust studies. The center offers an academic minor in Holocaust Studies, teacher training, seminars, and public lectures and publications.
“Growing up in Burlington’s Old North End, I would never have dreamed that some day I could do something meaningful to assure that the horrors of the Holocaust would not be forgotten,” Miller said when he announced his gift.
The Millers’ gift will support the renovation of Billings Library as a permanent home for the Center and will endow two new professorships in Holocaust Studies. The new Center will be named the Carolyn and Leonard Miller Center for Holocaust Studies. Additionally, the renovation will provide a new home for UVM’s Center for Research on Vermont and the UVM Libraries’ Special Collections division. Billings, designed by Henry Hobson Richardson, the foremost architect of his day, was dedicated in 1885 as the university library.
Miller, ever grateful for UVM’s Wilbur Fund assistance that enabled him to complete his UVM education, has been a fundraising leader for the UVM Fund, a member of the Wilbur Society, the Holocaust Studies advisory board, and his reunion class gift committees, among other university roles.
Among his many awards, Miller received the Distinguished Service Award from
UVM in 2004 and the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award from the State of Israel,
in 1974. He was inducted into the Florida Home Builders Association Hall of
Fame. In 2004, the Millers received The Spirit of Jerusalem Medallion for their
support of Israeli bonds.