In 1960, Paul Miller bought 100 shares of stock in Wrigley's gum.
Two years later, the KU graduate and Hays resident bought 100 more shares. He bought another 100 shares in 1964, with an additional 18 coming to him as dividends.
After numerous stock splits, the original 318 shares mushroomed well into the thousands. Add that to 54,000 shares of Proctor & Gamble, and it was apparent Paul and his wife, Virginia, knew how to beat the stock market.
But the real winners were yet to come.
On Tuesday, Carl Locke, dean of the KU School of Engineering, and KU Endowment Association officials formally received a $7 million check from Hays-based attorneys Dennis Bieker and Norb Dreiling, who represent the estate of the late Paul and Virginia Miller.
The check was the result of a public auction this summer of the couple's 7,000 acres, spread over seven northwest Kansas counties. It was the largest bequest ever left to KU, although the endowment association has received nonwilled gifts of as much as $15 million.
Bieker indicated the entire estate could reach $20 million. KU could receive $10 million of that. Because the estate is entirely a charitable deduction, it isn't taxable.
The KU School of Engineering was set to receive half the bequest. Paul Miller graduated from KU in 1932; Virginia in 1930.
The other half of the Miller estate will be split evenly between the endowment association of Fort Hays State University and the Hays Medical Center.
At KU, the money will be dedicated to funds already established at the engineering school by the Millers over the past two decades. They include funds for student scholarships, faculty sponsorships and program development.
``It's sort of stunning,'' Locke said, adding that he visited with Paul Miller at least once a year. ``He had mentioned to me that we were in his will. But I didn't have any idea how much it was.''
Paul Miller, a retired banker and investor, and Virginia had no children and willed all but a small portion of their estate to the institutions.
Virginia Miller died in 1993. Her husband died Jan. 23 in Hays.
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