Westmont Magazine Enhancing the Endowment
When Ed and Mollie Miller moved their daughter Barbara into Page Hall in 1986, physics professor Ken Kihlstrom joined them in hauling a refrigerator up to the third floor. “We were amazed that a professor would help students move in,” Ed recalls. “We realized right away that faculty got deeply involved in the lives of students.”
Later, the Millers listened as President David Winter talked about the college’s need to increase its endowment. An attorney specializing in estate planning, Ed understands the value of this important fund. The president’s words intrigued him, and he decided to help the college.
For the past 12 years, Ed has been actively involved as a parent, a donor, and a volunteer. During the 1988– 91 capital campaign, he served on the major gifts committee. Last year, he joined the board of trustees and serves as a member of the finance committee.
While Ed had known about Westmont for a long time, he learned a lot more through the experiences of two of his daughters: Barbara Dingman ’90 and Susan Underwood ’93.
“It wasn’t until I became the parent of a Westmont student that I realized how academically excellent the College is,” Ed explains. “Studying at Westmont transformed Barbara’s writing and English skills, and professors profoundly influenced the lives of both our daughters. Every time we visited, we appreciated the positive Christian radiance on campus and how completely faculty commit themselves to students.”
Grateful for the education their daughters received, Ed and Mollie established an endowed scholarship for Westmont students. “We remember how much we struggled to pay for college when it cost much less,” Ed reflects. “We wanted to help students afford Westmont.
“It takes money to be an academically excellent institution, which explains the rising cost of tuition,” Ed continues. To keep attracting qualified students, the College must increase its endowment to offer more scholarship money.
“Also, we had no questions about the financial management of the College. “We knew the staff would administer the scholarship fund with integrity and expertise.”
Over the years, Ed has served on a number of boards and considers the Westmont trustees “top flight.” “There is so much talent on the board that my expertise is not critical to the College. But I’m committed to building the endowment, and it’s rewarding to help insure the College’s future.”
A graduate of the University of Redlands, Ed attended law school at USC and joined the firm Bewley, Lassleben, and Miller in 1965. He is now a senior partner.
Mollie volunteers with the Whittier Assistance League and serves as a deaconess at church. Her passion is putting on puppet shows for second, third, and fourth graders that familiarize them with children who have disabilities.