Michael and his family have become strong supporters of Sun Devil Athletics and the Sun Devil Football program. Their support assists our Sun Devil Football student-athletes with covering the scholarships cost associated with tuition, room and board, and books. We caught up with Michael and asked him a few questions about why he and his family supports Sun Devil Football:
In what ways are you connected to ASU? I’m fortunate to have academic and athletic ties to ASU. I was exposed to ASU athletics at an early age attending Football and Basketball games, events and practices with my Dad. These events helped me better understand the importance of leadership and team work and laid the foundation for me as a Sun Devil for life.
As a two-time graduate of the College of Engineering I have many academic ties to ASU. Faculty, staff, and students who I met while attending have become life-long friends. While the time together was relatively short, the bonds endure.
Recently, my wife Wendy and I established the Michael C Miller Football Scholarship as part of our endowment.
What does it mean to you to be a Sun Devil and be a part of the Sun Devil Family? How does it help connect you with your community? It means a lot to be part of the Sun Devil family. At ASU, you grow as an individual while obtaining an amazing education. As an ASU graduate you really are part of an extended family and the bonds you build are life enhancing. Fellow alumni are very supportive in helping one-another.
In my experience, you become better connected to your community through your connections to ASU. ASU has become a premier research university and has really excelled recently in athletics. Being a resident in the Phoenix metro area, it’s easy to make these connections. Personally, as an Engineering Manager and Director I have been in the fortunate and rewarding position of hiring ASU interns and graduates from the College of Engineering. I knew these individuals would be able to successfully contribute because of their education at ASU and I personally knew their advisors, who I connected with many years ago at ASU.
Why do you think it is important to support student-athletes and Sun Devil Athletics? It’s important to support student athletics to help these gifted young men and women fulfill their dreams and obtain a great education. Most athletes competing at the collegiate level in the Pac-12 have made many sacrifices getting there and face challenging demands on their time, balancing athletic and academic efforts. It’s important to support these students personally and Sun Devil Athletics who play a critical role in shaping the futures of these students.
Why did you, and what motivated you (and your family), to create an endowment? Appreciation for my experiences at ASU and desire to give back were motivation for creation of the endowment. Involvement in ASU athletics, meeting the coaches and staff, attending sporting events, practices over the years helped instill important values of teamwork, motivation and perseverance. My academic experience at ASU was the foundation of my success in industry. ASU provided an amazing learning environment and opportunity for learning. The friendships built with students, faculty and staff remain to this day. The creation of the endowment is our way of giving back.
What is your vision for your endowment? The vision of our endowment is to help contribute to the success of the student-athletes who receive the scholarship and make a difference in their lives. In a broader sense, I’d like it to contribute in a small way to the overall success of the football program.
What do you enjoy most about being a Sun Devil Club member? The most enjoyable part of being a Sun Devil Club member has been connecting with members who share our passion for supporting Sun Devil Athletics and getting to know the coaching staff and players. I have been fortunate to meet and travel to games with many members who support ASU football and other sports. It’s always rewarding to talk to folks before a game or at an event and share your experiences.
Describe the most exciting game/meet/match you have attended I would have to say the most exciting game I attended was the 1987 Rose Bowl. It was exciting not because it was a last second victory but rather because it was the culmination of a very successful season. I attended the game sitting mainly among Michigan fans. At first I wasn’t sure we could pull it off but we were able to shut out Michigan in the second half and get the W. It was so exciting and a great day for ASU.
If you could have dinner with any Sun Devil student-athlete/coach/staff member from the past or present, who would it be and why?
I would have to pick Danny White. Danny was an amazing quarterback at ASU, coached by legend Frank Kush. Danny and his teammates under Frank put ASU on the map for football. His skills and leadership allowed him to be successful in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys under Tom Landry, as Head Coach of Arizona Rattlers and in broadcasting. Additionally, he has given back greatly to his community here in Arizona. I have always been inspired by his ability to win in football and motivate and help others.