Inspired by the impact that longtime faculty member Tom Miller and the Entrepreneurship Initiative have made on their lives and careers, a group of NC State alumni has established the Dr. Thomas K. Miller III Fellows Endowment to support entrepreneurial minded students. The fund will provide small stipends during the period directly following graduation, when students may face a decision between taking a job and focusing on fleshing out their ideas and securing funding for a startup company.
Alumni Bill Nussey and Chris Evans are among the alumni donors who helped establish the endowment. They call Miller a tireless champion and mentor who provides students with ongoing encouragement and connects them with critical resources.
A Life-Changing Leader
Tom Miller — the McPherson Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering Entrepreneurship at NC State — channels philanthropy to provide extraordinary student experiences including the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program and an annual spring break trip to Silicon Valley.
“Tom’s advice and support at such a critical juncture in my life proved pivotal. I’ve since spent my entire career as an entrepreneur, living a life I couldn’t have dreamed of when I was a student here 30 years ago.”
Nussey and Evans were among the guest speakers at a Sept. 8 reception held at Talley Student Union’s 1887 Bistro to announce the endowment’s creation.
“When Bill and I came on campus with the heart of entrepreneurs, nobody really knew what to do with us. We didn’t know if we should try, but you encouraged us,” Evans told Miller at that event. “You did that for others, too. Your vision was even larger and, piece by piece, you changed the entrepreneurial culture on campus. This university community has been forever changed by your vision and expertise.”
Chancellor Randy Woodson noted at the reception that creating more opportunities such as scholarships and fellowships is one of the priorities of NC State’s Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign.
“We’re grateful for your support. Congratulations, Tom, and thank you all for your contributions,” Woodson said.