Miller Time

 

The Steve Miller Band’s Homecoming concert raises nearly $750,000 for scholarships. 

Offering fans a collection of classic hits, Steve Miller x’67 returned to campus with a Homecoming concert at the Wisconsin Union Theater. But instead of taking the money and running, Miller and his band raised the money and left it — their concert was a benefit to generate funds for scholarships at UW–Madison.

Playing to a packed house in Shannon Hall on October 20, the Steve Miller Band got fans up and singing with tunes such as “Take the Money and Run,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Abracadabra,” and “The Joker.” Sponsored by Phill ’82 and Liz Gross, and Ted ’69 and Mary ’68 Kellner, the concert was a benefit for the Chancellor’s Scholarship Program. The concert raised more than $370,000, which will be matched by generous donors, providing a total of $740,000 for scholarships.

A native of Milwaukee, Miller launched his musical career as an undergrad at UW–Madison. In the late 1960s, he joined the San Francisco music scene and then crafted his own brand of pop music. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

“I really started writing at the end of my time in Madison,” Miller says. “I had listened to a lot of different writers. I was young. I was talented. I could play. I could write good music and had some fairly good ideas. But as time goes on, you learn a lot as you grow up. And now I’m getting ready to celebrate my 50th year of recording.”

The concert was a highlight of Homecoming weekend, which included the traditional parade, the inaugural Homecoming Block Party in Alumni Park, and a football victory over the University of Maryland. Miller had a homecoming of his own, giving a guest lecture to a music class and conducting the UW Marching Band during the Fifth Quarter after the Homecoming game.

The Chancellor’s Scholarship Program aims to increase educational opportunities for academically talented but underrepresented ethnic-minority students — African, Hispanic, Native, and Southeast Asian Americans — and culturally disadvantaged undergraduates. The scholarship covers tuition and fees and an annual book award of $800. Scholars also participate in a variety of cocurricular and service activities.

Furthermore, the concert helped to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the naming of the Wisconsin School of Business. In 2007, the school received a “naming” gift that came with no name. Innovative in the world of philanthropy, it was the gift of a group of 13 like-minded UW alumni who joined together to create the Wisconsin Naming Partnership with their investment of $85 million to preserve the school’s name — as the Wisconsin School of Business — for at least 20 years. Since the original gift, four other donors have joined the partnership, raising the total gift amount to $110 million.