Leaving a Legacy for Geauga County Healthcare

“Dee Dee was the ultimate caregiver throughout her life,” recalls her husband, Bill Miller. “She spent her entire life helping others with medical issues and a myriad of life concerns.” Her service to others is one of the reasons Bill and his family, following Dee Dee’s passing in January 2020, wanted to start a scholarship at Kent State University Geauga for future nurses. Dee Dee and Bill Miller met in college and married soon after. Bill received a bachelor of arts in English literature and an executive MBA from Kent State University.

Dee Dee Miller nursing photo

Dee Dee earned her bachelor of science in nursing from Kent State University in 1985. “Dee Dee loved her Nursing School experience. She loved her professors, her clinicals, and made some lifelong nursing friends,” Bill shared. The Millers’ educational experiences at Kent State carried with them throughout their lives. Bill lived on-and off-campus and took several English and History courses at the Geauga Campus in Burton. 

“We started the scholarship to honor Dee. When she was 12-years-old, her mother died of breast cancer, and Dee helped raise her younger brother; and four weeks before Dee died, she was doing cancer research for a friend who had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer,” Bill said. Dee Dee’s caring attitude is what made her successful as a nurse at University Hospitals (UH). Even after raising her three boys, she returned to UH Geauga Medical Center to serve on its board and ultimately became the chairperson. 

Recently, as a tribute to Dee Dee for her dedication to UH Geauga, the Dee Dee Miller Fund for Hospice & Palliative Care was started. This fund will help UH Geauga deliver attentive, compassionate care to those going through one of life’s most difficult situations. With the support of her UH Seidman Cancer Center team, Dee Dee survived and thrived for five years after her initial diagnosis with metastatic breast cancer. 
Dee Dee and Bill Miller photo

“Kent State Geauga and University Hospitals are great partners,” Angela Spalsbury, Ph.D., Dean and Chief Administrative Officer of Kent State Geauga said. “Our bachelor of science in nursing program in Burton places students at UH Geauga for their clinicals, and UH Geauga recently supported our campus’s efforts to purchase a SIM Man 3G to enhance our students’ learning.” 

“We are thrilled that the Miller family has decided to create the endowed scholarship at our campus,” Spalsbury continued. “The scholarship will be awarded to a student enrolled at the Geauga Campus with a 3.5 GPA, who is employed at UH Geauga, or has a family member currently employed there.” The goal of the scholarship is to support a student with $2,000 - $3,000 toward their education costs. This amount is typically the “gap” juniors and seniors will experience when their financial aid and Pell Grants run out. 

“We are firm believers in helping people attain their educational goals. We don’t believe families and individuals should have to suffer debt to receive an education,” Bill said. “Our goal in establishing the Dee Dee Miller Nursing Scholarship is to provide the medical world with more nurses like Dee.”

If you would like more information on the scholarship, please contact Molly Smith at msmit68@kent.edu or at 440.834.3761. For more information on the Dee Dee Miller Fund at UH Geauga, please contact Emilie Gottsegen at 440-285-6595. 

*Photos courtesy of Bill Miller

POSTED: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - 9:10am
UPDATED: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 10:52am