Carl R. and Jane Miller Journalism Scholarship Fund

Feb 11, 1977 | Scholarships

Carl R. Miller (1894-1980) was born in a small farming community in central Illinois. As a child, he contracted spinal meningitis that affected his walking and speech, but he excelled in school, finished high school, and enrolled in the University of Illinois to study journalism.

After graduating in 1920, he started an advertising business in St. Louis. From there he joined a Madison Avenue advertising firm in New York City and married Jane Freni. After a few years in high-pressure advertising, Miller wanted to realize his dream of owning and editing a newspaper, so in 1940, Carl, Jane, and their daughter, Carolyn, moved to the Rio Grande Valley where they purchased the Raymondville Chronicle.

Miller wrote news, editorials, columns, and advertising. Jane was general manager and sold advertising and printing. In the 37 years they published the paper, Carl became known as a master of nostalgia drawing on his family stories of the settling of the early Midwest. These accounts were frequently reprinted in daily newspapers as were his editorials focusing on protecting and maintaining a vibrant free press.

Miller wanted Americans to understand the importance of the First Amendment and uphold the ethic of accurate and factual reporting. To him transparency in governance was critical. In 1950, he won an award from the Texas Press Association for his editorials criticizing the city council for barring the press from its meetings. Pointedly during the McCarthy era, in his editorials he called it “The Iron Curtain Court.”

When he and Jane decided to sell the newspaper and retire, they wanted to leave a legacy to celebrate their years in publishing by endowing a scholarship in UT Austin’s School of Journalism. The Carl R. and Jane Miller Journalism Scholarship Fund will support excellent students in newspaper journalism with financial need.

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