Montclair State “Made All the Difference in the World”: Anne Albert Miller ’45 Supports Her Alma Mater through her IRA
Times have certainly changed at Montclair State since Anne Albert Miller ’45 was a student during World War II. “Tuition my first year was $50, plus $345 for room and board,” she recalls. “There weren’t many men around because of the war.”
But while much has changed since Anne’s student days, the enduring values of education and opportunity are still strong at the University. That’s why Anne has been a longtime Annual Fund supporter and also has made a bequest in her will for her alma mater.
“Montclair State made all the difference in the world for me,” Anne shares. “I had a scholarship when I was a student. As the oldest of five kids, if I hadn’t gotten that scholarship I couldn’t have gone to college. I believe that it’s important to give back.”
Anne makes her Annual Fund gift from her IRA. “I have to take a minimum distribution each year,” she explains, “and I save on taxes if I contribute some of those funds to the University.”
A math major, Anne recalls classes and graduation in the Amphitheater, the WPA project built in the 1930s with the help of students and faculty. But her favorite memory is when her future husband, John G. “Jack” Miller, proposed to her on the hill behind it.
Anne vividly remembers the day in February 1943 when President Harry A. Sprague invited all the students to the gym for an emotional sendoff of fellow students who had joined the Air Corps and were leaving campus immediately, even though it was the middle of the semester. “There were 10 students in my physics class,” she recalls, “but after that there were only two girls remaining.”
Anne loved living on campus, first in Russ Hall and later in Chapin Hall. She was from West Orange, but because her family had no car, commuting the ten miles would have taken her two hours on three buses each way. “Living on campus I could use the library more, which I really enjoyed,” she shares. “We had our meals in a dining room and dressed for dinner with heels and stockings. We had assigned tables. It was very formal.”
Now 87, Anne lives in Florida. She keeps active, swims, and exercises each day. Some years ago, she met a fellow member of the Social Committee in her residential community, and realized serendipitously that it was a long-ago friend from Montclair State, Marie Rienzo Barillo ’46! The two remain fast friends.
“Our college educations helped my husband Jack and me so much,” Anne shares. “We had a better life and more opportunities because of our education. I want to give something back for the next generation, and I’m delighted to be in a position to do so. It’s very worthwhile. I tell my family members to think about supporting their colleges.”