Darvin and Marge Miller: Leaving their Legacy at Africa University

Shannon L. Alder writes, "Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones; a legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you."  For Darvin and Marge Miller of Phoenix, AZ, leaving a legacy is not only an important tenet of their faith but is also the raison d'êtreof their life's work. 

Darvin was born and reared in Marion, ND, and grew up in the Evangelical United Brethren Church (EUB). Marge grew up in the small community of Aneta, ND, where she and her family were active in the nondenominational Aneta Community Church. The Millers met in 1947 at Calvary EUB Church (Fargo, ND) and were married there in 1951.

The Millers discovered their life's work when Darvin accepted a faculty position at Taylor University (Upland, IN), to serve as professor and chair of the Psychology Department. During Darvin's eight-year tenure at Taylor, the Millers earned their doctoral degrees from Ball State University (Muncie, IN), and were recognized for being the first couple to receive their doctoral degrees at the same commencement ceremony.

In 1971, they were recruited by the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Pointe to develop two new program areas:  early childhood education (Marge's expertise) and exceptional education (Darvin's expertise).  For twenty-one and twenty-two years, respectively, the Millers designed and taught innovative, cutting-edge curricula in early childhood education for special needs children.  Marge was one of the first educators to develop an early childhood teacher preparation program in Wisconsin.  Darvin was recognized by the University of Wisconsin System as one of the top scholastic leaders in handicapped-preparation programming in Wisconsin.

After their retirement to Phoenix in 1994, and becoming active members of Dayspring UMC in Tempe, they sought ways to continue to impact the lives of young children with special needs so that they may realize their full potentials.  A new opportunity presented itself in 2012 when Darvin traveled with a 42-member delegation from the Desert Southwest Annual Conference to Africa University. While on-site, Darvin visited with the professors and nursing students, and was most impressed with their deep commitment to the health needs of young African children. 

Upon his return home, as he and Marge considered their legacy and how the work of their careers might be continued in an area of the world most in need, they decided to establish the Africa University Darvin and Marge Miller Early Healthcare Intervention Endowed Scholarship Fund "to enhance the preparation of exemplary nursing students who are committed to serving the special needs of young children in Africa." 

The Millers recognized a need and responded with compassion and action.  Their hope is that many young African children will find life and its fullness through the services provided by Africa University nurses.

Each of us will leave a legacy.  The question is: What kind of legacy will you leave?

Elaine Jenkins, director of planned giving, Africa University Development Office

A World Service Special Gift is a designated financial contribution made by an individual, local church, organization, district or annual conference to a project authorized as such by the Connectional Table. Current World Service Special Gifts projects include the Africa University Endowment Fund, the Leonard Perryman Communications Scholarship for Ethnic Minority Students, the Methodist Global Education Fund, the National Anti-Gambling Project and the Lay Missionary Planting Network.