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Local benefactor endows visual arts chair at Shepherd

ISSUED: 21 February 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
(Local benefactor endows visual arts chair at Shepherd)

Shepherdstown, WV--The Shepherd University Foundation has announced the creation of the Thomas W. Miller Endowed Chair for Visual Arts funded by Thomas Miller. Funds from this faculty excellence award will be used to recruit, recognize, and retain outstanding visual arts faculty. Areas in which awards may provide support include relocation and housing allowances, salary enhancements, research, and academic travel.

As a 46-year resident of Jefferson County, Thomas Miller wants a local entity to one day benefit from his estate and feels Shepherd University is critical to the cultural and economic life of the Eastern Panhandle.

"If continued to develop properly, I see Shepherd University as an engine of growth for the entire region," he said.

It was this notion that led Miller to establish his gift. A lifelong artist and retired high school art teacher who also acted as department head for the largest art department in Baltimore City Schools, he hopes it will further develop Shepherd's visual arts program and ensure financial provisions for future generations of Shepherd students.

Now residing in Shenandoah Junction, Miller takes advantage of his close proximity to Shepherd's campus by utilizing its various amenities. He has taken more than 40 visual arts credit hours at Shepherd and is impressed with the program his gift will further enhance. The septuagenarian and avid swimmer also logs several hours each week in the pool at the Shepherd Wellness Center.

Miller made his gift through a bequest in his will, joining the more than 100 members of the Joseph P. McMurran Society who have let Shepherd know they wish to provide for the future of the University with a planned gift or bequest.

"If you don't plan ahead, then the laws of the state predetermine what happens to your assets once you're gone," said Miller. "I wasn't going to let that happen."

For more information about planned giving or to establish an endowed scholarship, program, or faculty excellence award through the Shepherd University Foundation, please contact Monica Lingenfelter, Shepherd University Foundation, P.O. Box 5000, Shepherdstown, WV, 25443-5000, 304-876-5397,, or visit


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Thomas W. Miller

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