Renowned university donor, philanthropist dies at 81

Susan "Sue" Miller
Susan "Sue" Miller
Susan “Sue” Miller

Susan “Sue” Miller, philanthropist and advocate to the University of Miami and South Florida, died Nov. 10 after a battle with cancer. She was 81.

After her husband, Leonard Miller, died in 2002, Sue took it upon herself to continue working to uplift and educate students at UM.

“Sue Miller was an inspirational force in our community,” UM President Julio Frenk said to University Communications. “Her tireless and passionate advocacy for educational opportunities helped lift and shape young minds. Her legacy, in particular through the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, will endure in the many lives touched by her generosity. The University of Miami family mourns her loss, and our hearts go out to her children Stuart, Leslie, Jeffrey and the entire Miller family.”

When Miller donated, she believed in donating big. Once she began helping, she didn’t let up, working to raise more than $130 million over the past 35 years for the United Way and other South Florida organizations.

In 2004, she donated $100 million dollars in the name of the Miller family to the University of Miami School of Medicine, which was renamed after the family’s gift. At the time, it was the largest contribution ever given to the university.

In recent years, the Miller family contributed another $55 million in 2012, which is now being used to create the new Miller School of Medicine Center for Medical Education.

Her philanthropic passion for education extended not only over to the School of Medicine.

Along with her husband, Miller contributed $5 million to the creation of the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, the first academic and research center in the United States to focus on issues affecting the Jewish people in the 20th century, along with their history and contributions. Miller stayed involved with the center up until her final years, attending speeches and programs.

“She was a very special person. Very warm as an individual, very committed, very interested, very active,” said Haim Shaked, director of the Center of Contemporary Judaic Studies. “She was really an unusual person in the range of her interests, her philanthropic work in the community, on Jewish and non-Jewish issues.”