Mary Catharine “MC” Harney Miller, ’89, has been cheering for Niagara University for her entire adult life: as a basketball and club football cheerleader, as a loyal alumna attending reunions, as a donor to the annual fund, and now with a gift through her estate plan.
MC and her husband Paul Miller have set up a trust that will make a bequest to Niagara in MC’s name. Many donors as part of their estate plans establish trusts in conjunction with their wills. “We chose a trust to avoid extra taxes and probate,” MC explained. “We have no children and felt that this was the natural thing to do.”
In addition to being a donor, MC works with donors as manager of donor relations for the Naval War College Foundation in Newport, Rhode Island. Paul Miller works in finance for Merrill Lynch.
Originally from Angola, New York, MC spent her high school years in Hamburg, New York, about an hour south of the university. She wanted to attend a small college with an Irish Catholic component that played Division I basketball—for which she wanted to cheer. The active undergraduate was a member of the Ethnic Awareness Club, Political Science Forum, Young Republicans, Dorm Council, and during her senior year, played on the Women’s Club Rugby team. She also spent seven months in London in the study abroad program. After graduation she attended St. John’s University, earning a master’s degree in government and politics.
“I had a great time at Niagara,” MC said. “I made long-lasting friendships and was instilled with a lasting spirit of St. Vincent de Paul as an active volunteer.”
She urges other alumni to support Niagara with a non-restrictive gift. MC says, “It’s OK to start out with a small gift in your will or trust, as the amount can always be changed over time.”