Eric Miller ’78 might have learned as many life lessons on the basketball court at Gilmour as he did in the classroom. He played basketball at Dartmouth College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and later coached his daughters, Grace and Jesse, and son, EJ, in the game until they reached high school. “Basketball is my passion,” Miller proclaims, a love he attributes to Gilmour coaches Dick Fort and Amerigo Valerian. Miller travels to his children’s sporting events at Middlebury College, where Jesse plays basketball; Dartmouth, to watch EJ row crew; and Wellesley High School, to see Grace play varsity basketball.
“I’m not sure what I will do when they are done with sports,” he says. “My wife, Wendy, [whom he met at Dartmouth] is a little nervous.”
When he is not courtside, Miller is engrossed in TigerPresentations, LLC, a small distribution company he owns that specializes in marketing materials for trade shows. Before that, he founded and operated TigerMark, a manufacturer of portable trade show exhibits. His first job out of college was in field sales, selling soap for Proctor & Gamble.
When Miller looks back on his days at Gilmour as a resident student, he contends that it was the people who made the experience special and helped him develop into the person he is today. “Mr. Valerian gave me the confidence to develop my basketball skills,” he says. “I had never played before, and his encouragement and Coach Fort’s many hours working with me in the gym after school allowed me to play at a college level,” Miller adds. “Their positive coaching styles are now mine.”
Miller recalls Brother Dan Kane, C.S.C., encouraging him to sing, an activity he shares with his children. “Mr. (Joseph) Turkaly instilled a passion to work in clay, which I passed on to my son. Gilmour teachers made you believe in yourself.” It was at Gilmour that Miller developed his love for gardening, working off detentions by planting trees and spending time in the greenhouse. He keeps in touch with classmates Mike Collier and Randy Fagundo, and not long ago contacted Tom Wickham and Scott Lasher, though he is still trying to track down John Harvey.
As a boarding student, Miller was grateful for the “entire Gilmour Family,” since his parents lived in Venezuela. “Many people filled in the parenting roles for my Mom and Dad,” he said, noting that he got good advice from many parents. “Many moms invited me for wonderful home-cooked meals – and I never turned one down!”