L.D. Miller legacy lives on through generous donation

Story by Emily Williams, Contributing writer

The Miller family was recently recognized on Sept. 14 through a gift celebration at Frances. E. Miller Memorial Golf Course where university officials and special guests gathered to honor 40 years of support and a generous $1.15 gift from the L.D. Miller Jr. Trust.

According to the MSU Foundation’s website, the course is a par-71 layout built on land donated in 1979 by L.D. Miller, a 1937 Murray State alumnus who passed away in 1992. The course is located three miles off Highway 94 East on Highway 280 in Murray.

Tim Miller, former Murray State president and MSU Foundation executive director who also served as a trustee for the Miller gift, said L.D. wanted to gift the land to Murray State so it would have its own golf course to be utilized by the Murray State golf teams, but he also wanted to honor his wife.

“I think anytime that a university owns a facility that a lot of people are interested in, that’s going to be a benefit to them,” Miller said. “At the clubhouse, they also built locker rooms for the players. So the men’s team as a locker room, and the women’s team has a locker room.”

He said L.D. gave an endowment to the foundation when the the golf course was first built, but he also left a one million dollar endowment to the trustees (Tim Miller, Stephen Sanders, and one other) to oversee.

“That’s what we just donated back to the foundation, was the fund that we were overseeing,” Miller said. “His legacy is going to last forever because that’s a perpetual endowment. It’s going to help cover the operating cost of having a golf course and a facility.”

Sydney Kelley, senior from Paducah, Kentucky, and member of the Murray State women’s golf team, said Miller Memorial serves as a home to many other events aside from golf, such as board meetings, fundraisers and cross country meets.

“Miller is very university-based through their support,” Kelley said. “They’ve been super supportive in helping us be as successful as we can be during practices and tournament play.”

Kelley said the Murray State golf teams are able to use the facility free of charge. Before Miller Memorial was established, the Murray State golf teams had to practice at the Murray Country Club for a fee.

“They just really improved the course over the years as well,”  Kelley said. “We got new green probably five years ago, or maybe six years ago, that has really made the course more challenging and difficult in order to help us compete to the highest level that is necessary.”  

Kelley said she appreciates the course’s aid in helping them become better players and she believes one of Miller’s main focuses is how they can help student athletes.

“Anything that you can do to benefit the students, that’s what it’s all about,” Miller said. “L.D. Miller felt that way, and that’s why he wanted to give the golf course.”