How Rausser College’s strong community inspired parents Beth and Michael Miller to support undergraduate experiences.
Beth and Michael Miller with UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ during the 2022 homecoming football game.Photo by Keegan Houser.
When their daughter Annie chose to attend UC Berkeley—a school over 2,500 miles from home—Beth and Michael Miller were excited to know she was attending one of the top public universities in the world, but they also felt hesitant about the size of the school. “On such a large campus, there are so many resources, but I also just wanted to know that she’d be able to make meaningful connections,” says Beth, noting that their other three children had gone to smaller schools much closer to home.
From the moment Annie arrived on campus, the Millers’ fears were assuaged. “We were incredibly impressed by the community Annie found at Rausser College, especially the unique advising program,” she says. “That has been such a game changer.”
The Millers have loved seeing their daughter pursue her passion for creating a more sustainable world through her classes and beyond. After taking Professor Kate O’Neill’s International Environmental Politics class, she participated in O’Neill’s Zero Waste Lab through the Sponsored Projects in Undergraduate Research (SPUR) program. Beth laughs about how she surprised friends by giving an update on the Berkeley experience: “Annie has been wearing a hazmat suit and sorting through the garbage at the dorms, doing a waste audit,” she says. “Now, when I think of garbage, I think of Annie: she’s made our whole family think carefully about how our choices can keep things out of the landfill.”
Fast forward three years: Annie is a senior majoring in both society & environment and data science. The Millers co-chair the university-wide Cal Parents Board and actively support Rausser College of Natural Resources—and encourage others to do the same. They have welcomed fellow parents at Homecoming, answered questions for prospective students and their families at Cal Day, and reached out to parents during Big Give, Berkeley’s day of giving.
In addition to being generous donors to the Rausser College Fund for Natural Resources (which funds programs geared toward undergraduate students), the Millers established a campus Fiat Lux Scholarship, which provides monetary, community, and academic support to underrepresented and first-generation students from California. They also give to the Basic Needs Center—a UC Berkeley initiative that supports students’ overall well-being and where Beth is now a member of the advisory council.
“Equity has always been important to us,” says Michael, a founder and managing director of Crewcial Partners, LLC, a New York-based firm that provides consulting services to nonprofit institutions. “We recognize the advantages we have received in life and how the world really works for others. We wanted to take that luck and pass the opportunity on.”
Beth says she truly enjoys talking to other parents who are also excited about Cal, and she’s motivated by the collective impact they can make. “It’s amazing to see how many small donations add up to a mountain of money that can be really helpful to achieve the College’s goals,” she says. “I hope everyone who can give will realize the value of giving to this incredibly special place.”