Dec. 21, 2007

Celebration of Lights founder Mike Miller dies

Mike Miller

SMU alumnus Mike Miller (’73, ’77), the first president of the SMU Student Foundation, founder of the University’s annual Celebration of Lights and a longtime supporter of a variety of SMU programs, died Dec. 17. The 58-year-old Miller was president of Mike Miller & Associates Special Events Inc. in Dallas.

Among his many contributions to his alma mater, perhaps none loom larger than his 1977 founding of the Celebration of Lights, an event that draws thousands to the SMU campus each December when SMU heralds the arrival of the holidays with carols, candles and 100,000 tiny white lights. Miller established the Celebration of Lights Endowment in 1999 in memory of his mother, Margaret McNee Miller. He also donated money to create the SMU Student Foundation Scholarship.

While at SMU, Miller was a student leader and a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Among his numerous SMU honors, he was awarded the University’s “M” Award in 1973 for his outstanding service to the University.

He later served as senior vice president of the National Cheerleaders Association before forming his own event-production company. For the last 21 years, he produced performances for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and other aspects of other pageants and events, such as the Cotton Bowl Parade, and the AT&T Cotton Bowl halftime. He also served as president of the annual Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant.

SMU celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Celebration of Lights on Dec. 2, 2007. See a slide show and video of the event. For more information on Mr. Miller, click here.

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