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When a Lasting Impression Translates Into a Gift for Others

The Herbert A. Miller, Jr. Endowed Dean's Scholarship in Business was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on June 11, 2012, to benefit The University of Texas McCombs School of Business. Gift funds were provided by Mr. Sean P. Waggoner and Mrs. Valorie K. Waggoner. The endowment honors Mr. Herbert A. Miller, Jr.

Herbert A. Miller, Jr. is currently a senior lecturer in the Department of Marketing and has been with the McCombs School for nearly 30 years. He first began at the school in 1984 as an IBM Executive Faculty Fellow and as assistant to the dean. After his faculty fellowship term ended, he stayed on with the school as a lecturer while remaining with IBM. In 1994, Miller took an early retirement from IBM after a 21-year career with the company and began a dual appointment of teaching and administration at the McCombs School as a senior lecturer and the assistant dean for student affairs. 

As a senior lecturer, Miller has focused his research and lectures on sales, sales management, strategic marketing problems, marketing management, international marketing, competitive marketing strategies, customer service, and direct marketing. Speaking about his teaching style, Miller said "I challenge the students to see themselves as marketers and brands. They have to see themselves as a product or a brand and then apply those marketing principles they learn in the classroom to their lives."

This approach made a lasting impression on Sean P. Waggoner and Valorie K. Waggoner who first met Miller as students in his sales marketing class. Sean said, "Herb’s teaching style and enthusiasm for his students had a great impact on both of us." Since graduation, Sean and Miller have remained close with Miller serving not only as a close friend, but a mentor to Sean throughout his career. 

When the Waggoners began to think about giving back to the university, they knew it would be in Miller’s name. "Herb Miller is an outstanding representative of The University of Texas at Austin. He embodies all of the qualities a college professor should have," Sean said. "He has a noticeable passion for his students, is a great model of generosity, and he approaches his job with a servant’s heart."

When asked what he thought Sean meant by approaching his job with a "servant’s heart," Miller spoke about how every single person who strives to be great must first learn how to serve. "Servant leadership is about building relationships with students and encouraging them. One of my favorite sayings is 'I’m being the best I can be and trying to improve on that.'"

And, Miller also described Sean in that very same light. "Sean is so successful at what he does because he is extremely professional. He’s always kind and cordial and that speaks volumes for him."

With mutual admiration on both ends it was still a surprise for Miller to learn that the Waggoners would honor him in such a lasting way. "I was honored and humbled. I could never anticipate receiving a high honor like this and I hope it means I have achieved my goal to touch my students in a positive way."

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The Herbert A. Miller, Jr. Endowed Dean's Scholarship in Business will provide half of tuition and fees for four years to the recipient. To learn more about endowed undergraduate scholarships and their impact, please visit the McCombs Scholars Program website. 

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