The Larry H. & Gail Miller Center for Entrepreneurship
 

Introducing The Larry H. and Gail Miller Entrepreneurship Program at Southern Utah University

The Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation has pledged $2.1 million in support of Southern Utah University’s entrepreneurship program. This extraordinary gift follows a $1.5 million donation to build a central meeting space for entrepreneurs at SUU, named the Larry H. and Gail Miller Center for Entrepreneurship. It is located in the beautiful new Dixie Leavitt School of Business.

Larry H. and Gail Miller

Utah has a long and proud history of producing outstanding entrepreneurs. Any serious attempt to document the greatest entrepreneurs in the history of Utah would include the names Larry H. and Gail Miller. Some of their accomplishments include ownership of the Utah Jazz, 55 car dealerships, the Salt Lake Bees, the Megaplex theater chain, KJZZ-TV, Vivint Smart Home Arena, and many others. Despite all this, Larry H. and Gail never lost track of who they were prior to success and remained principled, honest, and extraordinarily charitable in both public and private. Today, the legacies of Larry H. and Gail Miller are known not only for business success, but for an uncompromising commitment to doing good in the communities where they conduct business—especially as it relates to improving health and education. People of all backgrounds would do well to follow their examples, and entrepreneurial-minded students at SUU will now have a unique opportunity to learn about their lives.

Larry H. and Gail Miller

Guiding Principles

The three guiding principles of the Larry H. and Gail Miller Entrepreneurship Program at SUU are educate, experience, and elevate.

Educate

Students learn how to start, run, and exit a business, as one would expect. However there are some aspects of the program that are unique to SUU.

  • The entrepreneurship program is a campus-wide resource, and currently students from 28 different majors are taking classes in entrepreneurship.
  • The entrepreneurship program supports students with both small and big business goals. Unicorn hunting is the only kind of hunting not practiced in Cedar City.
  • The three instructors of entrepreneurship courses—Landon Smith, William Taylor, and Bruce Haslem all have considerable experience as entrepreneurs to complement their educational backgrounds.

Experience

Southern Utah University is committed to experiential education—the idea that some things cannot be learned in a classroom and can only be learned by doing.

  • By starting businesses, students will gain valuable insights into business, the economy, and their own strengths and weaknesses. This is true for both ventures that are successful and those that are not.
  • All entrepreneurship classes currently include some hands-on, real-world learning.

Elevate

The program is committed to cultivating a sense of meaning and purpose in students’ lives, not just improving students’ financial standing.

  • The Entrepreneur Leadership Council is a group of carefully vetted mentors at SUU who have demonstrated the capacity to be financially successful while remaining principled, honest, and charitable.
  • Students study the lives of entrepreneurs of good character, past and present, including Larry H. and Gail Miller.

Scholarships and More

The Miller donation will support a variety of entrepreneurship initiatives at SUU that reflect Larry H. and Gail’s values and priorities.

  • Scholarships. Students interested in learning more about entrepreneurship, and especially students who are already entrepreneurs, will be eligible for generous scholarships.
  • Cross-curricular education. No discipline has a monopoly on entrepreneurial thinking. The Miller donation supports cross-curricular initiatives.
  • Free Enterprise. Larry H. Miller was deeply grateful for the free enterprise system that allowed for his success, and he was committed to preserving it for future generations. Speaking to aspiring entrepreneurs, he said, “You have to be involved in the health of the country and community…You have to protect the freedoms you have. You can’t assume they’re always going to be there.” The Miller donation supports educating student entrepreneurs to understand and protect the freedoms that allow new ventures to flourish.
  • Matching donations. A portion of the gift is to provide matching donations from like minded donors. Interested parties should contact Janet Borg, janetborg@suu.edu

Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

The Miller donation adds tremendously to an active and energetic entrepreneurial ecosystem at SUU that includes the following:

  • An incredibly popular Entrepreneurship Speaker Series with weekly visits from the likes of Mitt Romney, John Pestana, Cat Hoke, and Amy Rees Anderson.
  • A full-time Entrepreneur in Residence for walk-in student consultations
  • Business idea competitions and business plan competitions
  • Monthly trips across the Intermountain West that allow students to hone their pitch skills, network, and receive specialized training
  • A lively student-run entrepreneurship club

Like the Millers

Like the Millers, many SUU students come from little, and also like the Millers, many of them dream of accomplishing more than anyone expects of them. Now, thanks to the generosity of the Miller Family, SUU students have both great role models and the resources to help them achieve success as entrepreneurs.