More than 160 guests gathered at the University of Vermont Alumni House on Tuesday, August 21 for a formal ceremony to honor the University’s newest endowed faculty members and thank the donors who have made the positions possible.
Holly and Bob Miller — respected Vermont philanthropists and longtime supporters of health care in the Burlington area — have made a $6 million gift to the University of Vermont to permanently endow three faculty positions. One position will focus on issues related to memory and aging, another will advance the field of nursing leadership, and the third will address clinical practice in nursing. Counting this most recent gift, the Millers are the largest contributors to Move Mountains: The Campaign for the University of Vermont who are residents of Vermont, and the third largest contributors overall.
Rosemary L. Dale, Ed.D., APRN, chair of the Department of Nursing in the UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences, was invested as the first Holly and Bob Miller Professor in Nursing Leadership. Dr. Dale has been associated with the University of Vermont since 1976. She spent twenty-five years as the Chief Nursing Officer at the University of Vermont Medical Center, ten years as Dean of the School of Nursing at UVM, and twelve years in private practice at Vermont Internal Medicine. She returned to UVM full-time in September 2010 to assume her current position.
In 2014, Dr. Dale launched the Appletree Bay Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Clinic in Burlington. This College of Nursing and Health Sciences faculty practice provides health care to thousands of local residents and serves as an educational venue for graduate students and others. “By establishing one of only a handful of nurse practitioner-led faculty practices in the country, Dr. Dale is helping pioneer a model that can improve access to health care at a time when we are challenged by a shortage of primary-care providers, particularly in rural communities,” said Patty Prelock, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
Dr. Dale has served on numerous boards in the community including at Champlain College, United Way of Chittenden County, Mater Christi School, Vermont Catholic Charities, Visiting Nurses of Chittenden and Grand Isle, and the Vermont Health Foundation. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners named her the Vermont Nurse Practitioner of the Year in 2016.
Later in the ceremony, Michael A. LaMantia, M.D., M.P.H., AGSF, a nationally-recognized expert in the care of older adults, particularly those with cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias, was invested as the inaugural Holly and Bob Miller Chair in Memory and Aging. A board-certified internist and geriatrician, as well as a fellow of the American Geriatrics Society, Dr. LaMantia was recruited to the University of Vermont in 2016 from the faculty of the Indiana University School of Medicine. “Dr. LaMantia is a quintessential physician-scientist,” said Rick Morin, Dean of the Larner College of Medicine. “His research is grounded in the experiences of his patients and his desire to make those experiences better.”
Dr. LaMantia oversees a robust research program that focuses on how older adults—particularly those with dementia and delirium—are cared for in the emergency department. This work fits into his larger effort to understand the healthcare delivery challenges that face vulnerable seniors and apply evidence-based solutions to these problems. This research is currently funded by the National Institute on Aging, a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
At the University of Vermont, Dr. LaMantia is the Director of the Center on Aging and head of geriatric medicine at the Robert Larner, MD College of Medicine. In addition, he is the Medical Director for Long-Term Care Services at the University of Vermont Medical Center. In these roles, he works with community, University, state, and clinical care partners to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults across Vermont and the northern New York.
“Endowed professorships and chairs are incredibly important for recruiting and retaining the best thinkers, the most creative researchers, and the most effective teachers,” observed UVM President Tom Sullivan. “These exceptional faculty members in turn create a dynamic and engaging academic environment that attracts outstanding students to UVM.” Since the beginning of the Move Mountains campaign, donors have created sixty-three new endowed faculty positions at the University.
In addition to the professorship and chair created by their most recent giving, the Millers have previously endowed the Holly and Bob Miller Chair in Palliative Medicine in the Larner College of Medicine at UVM, and donated a large commercial property to the University of Vermont Medical Center. In recognition of the latter, the Medical Center has named in their honor its new inpatient facility that is currently under construction and expected to open next summer.
Beginning in 2019, the UVM Academic Health Sciences—the Medical Center, the Larner College of Medicine, and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences—will host an annual “Miller Day” that will bring together leaders in the medical fields where the Millers have directed their philanthropic investments, in particular palliative care, nursing, and memory and aging.
“Thanks to Holly and Bob’s farsighted generosity,” said UVM Foundation President and CEO Shane Jacobson, “UVM will always have world-class specialists to help address one of the most significant and enduring questions of our modern society: how do we best care for one another, especially as we age? We are so grateful to them.”
About The University of Vermont Foundation
The University of Vermont Foundation is a nonprofit corporation established to secure and manage private support for the benefit of the University of Vermont (UVM), one of the nation’s premier small research universities. The UVM Foundation, in partnership with the University and the University of Vermont Medical Center, is currently engaged in a comprehensive fundraising campaign with five strategic priorities: student access and scholarship; faculty research and support; student-centered programs; patient- and family-centered clinical care; and long-term investment in facilities. Move Mountains: The Campaign for The University of Vermont surpassed its initial goal of $500 million in private support in July 2018, and will conclude on June 30, 2019. For further information about giving to UVM, contact the University of Vermont Foundation, 411 Grasse Mount, Burlington VT 05401; 802-656-2010, www.uvmfoundation.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org.