Saluting a legacy of Maryland leadership and decades of strong support of higher education, the College of Southern Maryland Foundation raised nearly $300,000 to establish the Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr. Center for Leadership at CSM during a festive and celebratory evening of music, great food and accolades for Miller at the Running Hare Vineyard in Calvert County Sept. 26.
Miller (D-Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s) is the nation’s longest serving state senate president, having been a member of the Maryland Senate since 1975 and serving as the president of the Maryland Senate since 1987.
“Imagine being a young person today, trying to find your footing and make sense of the world amid chaotic public discourse and polarized news sources,” CSM President Maureen Murphy said while kicking off the evening’s remarks.
“Imagine being a college whose charge is to support young people as they learn to reconcile contradictory ideas in a culture that gives as much credence in opinion as in fact. In our current environment, helping students grapple with complexity and learn that there can be multiple valid perspectives on issues is becoming increasingly difficult,” Murphy added.
With Miller and his family, friends and colleagues looking on, Murphy shared that the Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Center for Leadership has never been more needed than it is now.
“Tonight, we celebrate the legacy of Maryland Senate President Mike Miller, America’s longest serving Senate president, whose example has long been a model for College of Southern Maryland students,” Murphy said
Viewed as a strong supporter of higher education, Miller has described community colleges as “the first line of defense for our educational system” during his meetings with CSM’s student leaders and their peers who attend the annual Maryland Student Advocacy Day in Annapolis.
Recently, Miller encouraged CSM’s representatives to participate in community activities not only to give back to their community but also as a resume-builder for their future. “We are a peninsula — Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s County — and one of our most precious resources is you, and the most precious thing we can do for you is to provide you with a quality education,” Miller said at the time.
“We celebrate this legacy by creating the Thomas V. ‘Mike’ Miller Center for Leadership, which will be a catalyst for leadership development for years to come,” added Murphy, further explaining to the more than 300 people in attendance that along with launching the center, CSM is also proud to announce the Miller Family endowed scholarship.
“Because of your generosity,” she shared with the crowd, “we will have an endowed scholarship fund, a dedicated seminar room, initiate the process for the appointment of a Distinguished Miller Professor for Leadership, and launch a lecture series for both our students and the general public.”
The Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Center will be located in the John E. Harms Academic Building on CSM’s Prince Frederick Campus.
The CSM Foundation is including the new Miller Center for Leadership as a feature in its upcoming Pride of Southern Maryland fundraising campaign which will launch during the spring of 2020, supporting this initiative to raise $500,000 for the center.
“Thank all of you for supporting this initiative, but mostly we thank President Mike Miller for his legacy of supporting opportunity for all Marylanders through access to community college education, as well as the ability to transfer to our four year partners across the state,” said Murphy.
A longtime supporter of CSM and the senator, Marianne Harms of Calvert County along with CSM Foundation Director Dixie Miller are among the founders of this project.
Harms, in recalling the support of the senator for many organizations in the state and “our corner of the world,” described Miller as “such a loyal friend to Southern Maryland and a leader for our state. Mike and his family are just wonderful, extraordinary people, and I can’t think of a better legacy than a leadership center at the college named for my friend.”
“Senator Mike Miller has spent his entire career leading efforts and advocating for education,” said Dixie Miller. “Because he genuinely believes in education, he has always kept education for all as a top priority in the state of Maryland. There is no better advocate for social and economic mobility in this country than Senator Miller.”