Leaving a Legacy: Connie Miller

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Connie Miller

Despite coming from very poor beginnings in eastern Colorado, Connie Miller graduated from Yuma High School and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in technical management at Regis College, graduating in 1981. Connie began working at Lockheed Martin in 1972 where she enjoyed an excellent career and retired just this past year.

Although Connie never attended Colorado State University, her experience with CSU's Veterinary Teaching Hospital created an ever-lasting bond. With a tear in her eye, Connie recalls the story of her adopted, 12 year old alley cat, named Fluffy. She had a tumor behind her right eye which was removed by her local veterinarian. He was not overly optimistic he had gotten all the cancer, so he recommended Connie take Fluffy to the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital for six weeks of radiation therapy. Connie says, "The staff was absolutely wonderful! They were professional, extremely compassionate, warm and kind hearted."

Like Connie, the staff at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital became very fond of Fluffy as she would sit on the tables and desks, and watch them while they did their paperwork. Two weeks into the therapy, Fluffy stopped eating so a feeding tube was inserted into her stomach. This enabled Connie to continue feeding her once she came home. About eight months later she stopped eating again and was very lethargic. So once again Connie took Fluffy back to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital where they determined she had stomach cancer.

Connie was broken hearted. She sat in the exam room for several hours trying to compose herself before making the long drive home to Salt Lake City where she was living at the time. She vividly remembers how kind the doctors were as they periodically checked in on her, and would take the time to sit and talk. Connie knew what she had to do, so she took Fluffy home with her and two weeks later she was euthanized.

Though not a happy ending, her experience with CSU's Veterinary Teaching Hospital left an everlasting impression on Connie. The level of care and compassion, both her and Fluffy received, inspired Connie. She wanted to give something back to the community, particularly through young people and their education. Then the thought occurred to Connie that since she was an adamant animal lover, why not help the community, young people, education and animals? With some guidance from the Office of Gift Planning, Connie decided to designate CSU the beneficiary of her IRA, and has established an endowment fund which will award scholarships to students in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Connie says," I never dreamed I had the ‘wherewithal' to establish an endowment and leave and everlasting gift to the education world."