David Miller serves as secretary of the SMU Board of Trustees, is a co-chair of The Second Century Campaign Steering Committee for Cox School of Business and serves on the Campaign Steering Committee for Athletics. He also has served on numerous other SMU boards and committees. Mr. Miller is co-founder and partner of EnCap Investments L.P., a private equity firm based in Houston and Dallas.
Campaign Update: How did you initially decide to attend SMU?
Miller: My dream growing up was to attend SMU and play basketball. That dream came true in 1968 when Doc Hayes and Bob Prewitt, SMU Men’s Basketball coaches, walked into my high school gym and offered me an athletic scholarship. When I graduated in 1972, I enrolled in the M.B.A. program through the assistance of a graduate fellowship. I’m a direct beneficiary of the generosity of the people whose gifts made the financial aid I received possible, so you can see why Carolyn and I are excited about providing scholarships for students who might not otherwise think attending SMU is a realistic possibility.
CU: Who influenced you at SMU?
Miller: I had a host of good professors, but one stood above the rest: Donald F. Jackson. I
took every finance and investment class he offered, but equally as important, he was my mentor. The other person who had a profound influence on me was Bob Prewitt. Coach Prewitt was an outstanding basketball coach who was equally invested in molding and shaping the character of his players. So once again, my personal experience on the Hilltop has inspired me to do whatever I can to ensure that SMU achieves excellence in everything the University is about, from the various academic arms of the University to our athletic programs.
CU: Why have you remained involved with SMU?
Miller: I made a conscious decision when I graduated to never really leave. SMU has been a tremendously important part of my life. Whether serving on the Endowment Investment Committee or helping the Cox School or the basketball program, it’s always been about giving something back to a place that’s been so incredibly special to me and three generations of my family.
CU: As a businessman, what return are you seeing on your investment in SMU?
Miller: I love to talk about SMU’s trajectory. Under President Turner’s visionary leadership, the University has made great strides. Our faculty comprises dedicated academicians committed to developing future leaders. The vast majority of our students are serious scholars, and they’re absolutely on a mission not just to prepare themselves for success but also to impact the world in a positive way. So for alumni, there is a lot to be proud of. Having said that, our goals are much loftier, and the job isn’t finished. The need for continued financial support is a critical part of the mission, and I’m highly confident that if we all do our part in reaching our objectives for The Second Century Campaign, this institution is going to emerge not only as a good university but as one of the finest academic institutions in America.