Great friendships are to be treasured, even held sacred as we navigate life. Friends can lift us up, they provide fresh perspective, and so often they act as trusted guideposts when we’re at a crossroads or seeking change. For David Miller, revered community leader and co-founder and managing partner of EnCap Investments LP, it was a friendship with larger-than-life oil legend Frank Pitts that inspired many of his life’s philosophies.
“No one has influenced the way I go about business or the way that I try to treat people more than Frank Pitts,” said David. “What he demonstrated so strongly was always treating everyone with respect and dignity, no matter who they were or what their status in life was. I think that’s so important and it’s something that my wife Carolyn and I have worked really hard to instill in our own children.”
Investing in the Future of Brain Health
Through the David B. Miller Family Foundation, he and his wife, Carolyn, made a generous gift of $1 million to Southwestern Medical Foundation, which was designated to be invested in the highest priority initiatives at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “We’ve just been incredibly blessed – so how can you not be compelled to give back?” said David.
Recently stirred by the momentum and impact of the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, the couple made an additional $1 million-dollar pledge. Their transformational gift of $2 million establishes the permanently endowed Miller Family University Distinguished Chair in Neurologic Disease, to be held by a nationally renowned expert in a specialty area of clinical neurology.
“Over the past decade, it’s become more apparent to me that we have huge challenges in health care in our Country. Serving on the Southwestern Medical Foundation Board not only has helped me better understand those challenges, but also better appreciate the extraordinary things UT Southwestern is doing to address them.”
Discovering cures for disorders of the brain is a top priority at UT Southwestern. The Miller’s generous support will help UT Southwestern recruit and retain the brightest minds in the field of neurology who will help reach new heights in scientific discovery and clinical care, bridging the gap between today’s medical challenges and tomorrow’s cures.
Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern, said, “Advancement and discovery at UT Southwestern will lead to novel treatments to give patients back their lives. Our scientists are developing simple blood tests to diagnose neurological diseases; gene therapy to replace faulty genes that will cure rare brain diseases; and innovative therapies to halt neurodegenerative diseases in their tracks. Their work inspires hope to an estimated one billion people worldwide suffering from brain-related diseases.”
David has long been inspired by the extraordinary giving spirit of local philanthropists. He met Frank Pitts during his early professional days, when he worked for Republic National Bank and managed the client relationship with Pitts Oil Co. During that time, Pitts became a close friend and mentor. David built an incredibly successful career, co-founding MAZE Exploration Inc. in 1981, a Denver-based oil and gas company. He then co-founded EnCap in 1988, which has raised 21 funds and managed over $37 billion of institutional capital since its inception, ranking today as the eighth largest private equity firm in the world.
“Over the past decade, it’s become more apparent to me that we have huge challenges in health care in our Country. Serving on the Southwestern Medical Foundation Board not only has helped me better understand those challenges, but also better appreciate the extraordinary things UT Southwestern is doing to address them,” said David. “I and my family are very pleased to be involved and supportive of an institution that is so vital.”
An Inspiration for our Community
David joined the Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2012, bringing wisdom from his 45 years of experience and leadership in banking and the oil and gas industries. He is a member of the Awards Committee, which guides the selection process for The Sprague Award, one of the most prestigious philanthropy in health care awards in North Texas. David was a major supporter of the Foundation’s 75th Anniversary Gala in 2014 and The Sprague Award event in 2017.
“We are so grateful for all they do – for their beautiful gifts such as this, and the way they lead by example, inspiring our community to give the gift of better health.”
Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO, Southwestern Medical Foundation
“David and Carolyn’s advocacy and support are driving positive change across our community,” said Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation. “We are so grateful for all they do – for their beautiful gifts such as these, and the way they lead by example, inspiring our community to give the gift of better health.”
Carolyn Miller has dedicated much of her life to philanthropy and advocacy for education, social justice and issues that impact older adults. She was an elementary school teacher and obtained a second Master’s degree in gerontology, growing into a role that oversaw several programs at The Senior Source. She is an active volunteer and supporter of a number of non-profit organizations in North Texas.
The Millers are shining examples of how generous hearts can enable progress in a city. “Whatever we do, we do it together, as partners,” said David. “We are very supportive of each other’s endeavors.”
David Miller attended Southern Methodist University after being awarded an athletic scholarship for basketball. He was a three-year starter and letterman on the varsity basketball team, and received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business Administration in 1972 and 1973, respectively. David has served on the SMU Board of Trustees since 2008 and serves as Chairman of the Executive Board of the Edwin L. Cox School of Business.
In 2004, he was appointed to the National Petroleum Council, an advisory body to the Secretary of Energy, and he is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Maguire Energy Institute. He was inducted into the Dallas Business Hall of Fame in 2015. In recognition for the lasting impact he’s made on Dallas, David received the Folsom Award in 2017 from Methodist Health System Foundation.