2021 Founders' Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to the Community
Jeffrey Miller ’79 was named the recipient of the 2021 Ransom Everglades Founders’ Alumni Award, which is awarded to individuals who, through loyal attitude, inspired spirit and unselfish action, have helped fulfill the vision of the founders of the Ransom and Everglades Schools. Miller has spent decades empowering students across Miami-Dade County: He has been a longtime benefactor of Breakthrough Miami, the educational program founded by two Ransom Everglades alumni. He co-founded an inner-city charter school, Beacon College Prep, to elevate public school education in Miami. He has championed the University of Miami since his undergraduate days there.
His high school alma mater also has long occupied special place in his heart. Through participation, philanthropy and mentorship, Miller has helped Ransom Everglades update and enlarge its campuses, improve its programs and live out its mission.
For years Miller has been fully engaged at RE while honoring his commitments to the larger Miami community. In recognition of his decades of service, Miller was also named the 2021 commencement speaker.
"Jeff has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to me since I arrived to RE in 2014," Head of School Penny Townsend said in May 2021. "He has also helped me understand the complexities of our amazing school and dynamic city. Few can match his generous spirit, keen sense of humor and delightful personality – and no one has a bigger heart. He has made a huge difference inside and outside of Ransom Everglades. It would be difficult to find a better model of Paul Ransom’s charge to each matriculating student to 'put more into the world than you take from it,' and I am grateful to call him a friend."
Some of Miller's best memories of his time at Ransom Everglades include his great mentor Dan Leslie Bowden. Their friendship endured throughout Miller's adult life, and he made certain that Mr. Bowden was able to retire comfortably and surrounded by the things and people he loved. He considers Ransom Everglades a key community asset, a school that sends out graduates who have the capability and empathy to face the challenging problems of their time, and make their hometown a better place.
“Many thanks to Ransom Everglades for honoring me with the Founders’ Award,” Miller said. “For almost five decades RE has been a huge part of my life. Many dear friendships emerged from my years as a student, as a parent and as a trustee to the RE community. I regard Ransom Everglades as a cornerstone to the South Florida community – not only for seeking educational excellence, but for emphasizing community outreach and selflessness.”
Miller, who with his siblings received the United Way’s prestigious Tocqueville Award in 2014, has also served RE in every conceivable role. He has been a trustee and chair of the board. He co-chaired the REinventing Excellence capital campaign. He created the Dan Leslie Bowden Endowment in the Humanities and, in spring 2021, RE named its original quad the Miller Family Quad. With current trustee Melissa Krinzman ’87, he co-founded Krillion Ventures, a venture capital fund that provides seed funding to tech-enabled companies in Miami and other locales.
He also is a parent of Anthony Miller ’15 and Lenny Miller ’21.
“The true mark of success is not how much one amasses in life,” Miller said. “A better barometer might measure the many ways one can give back to a community that has supported a foundation for so many blessings."