A conversation with Rev. Margaret C. “Peg” Miller ’66 and Rev. James H. Miller ’61
Jim and Peg Miller have been making annual gifts to Union Theological Seminary for more than 20 years, and in 2010 they made a major gift for the Institute of Art, Religion and Social Justice. They have also established a charitable trust with the Presbyterian Church Foundation that provides them with income, with part of the remainder to go to Union.
“It’s important to ask how many people of means Union has in comparison with other schools, and then make a strategic decision about where your money will make the most difference,” said Jim, who retired as executive presbyter for Albany, New York. “Because my wife Peg is also a Union alum, we could both feel good about leaving a legacy gift to Union.”
Jim and Peg married in 1994 and are now retired and living in Niskayuma, New York. Peg, who served as a Presbyterian pastor in Schenectady, New York, for more than 20 years, says she was initially drawn to Union’s first-year field education requirement—and further encouraged to matriculate by a scholarship offer.
“I didn’t imagine myself as a future parish minister upon entering Union,” she recalled. “I wanted to investigate the institution of the church quite immediately in my graduate program, and Union seemed to be the only place where I would have the freedom to do so. I was also drawn to Union by its leadership in the fields of theology and ethics.”
Jim was also drawn to Union by the strong faculty, including Paul Tillich, James Muilenburg, Robert McAfee Brown, and Reinhold Niebuhr, who led Jim’s thesis seminar.
“Discovering the intellectual vibrancy of Union was transforming,” Jim said. “It was a stepping stone for the rest of my life. If Union has been instrumental in what has followed in your life, then you should support Union.”