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Former student president continues to lead

Giving News

Annie Holand Miller

By Angela Curtis

Annie Holand Miller’s days as an anxious UT freshman are behind her, but she still remembers the feeling.

“My first semester I called my mother crying every day, telling her I wanted to transfer,” she says.

Miller didn’t transfer. Instead she dug in and got involved. By the time she graduated in 1999 with a B.A. in English, she was student-body president. During her term she helped reopen the Tower to visitors and launched a successful student referendum to help fund an outdoor aquatics complex at Gregory Gym.

Now she can add another role to her list of University accomplishments: estate donor. Her will includes a bequest to UT’s Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs; during her time as Student Government president she saw how Student Affairs staff helped people struggling with the same issues she had.

“There are so many external issues you’re dealing with: transitioning from living with your parents to living alone, dealing with a roommate, dealing with how to study,” she says. “Student Affairs transformed my experience at the University.”

Miller’s bequest isn’t her first time giving to her alma mater. She has donated to the University since her student days, through student campaigns and UT’s Annual Giving Programs, and she continues to give. She is a member of the 1883 Council, a group of the University’s up-and-coming alumni leaders, and her bequest makes her a member of another special group, the Texas Leadership Society, which honors donors of estate gifts.

Miller’s first involvement with the Texas Leadership Society came 10 years ago, long before her bequest. As student-body president, she spoke at the society’s inaugural annual luncheon in 1998. Now she’s a member.

She’s also a newlywed. Last fall she married Cramer Miller, a student in UT’s School of Law. After Cramer graduates this spring the couple will move to Houston, where Cramer has a job waiting at Vinson and Elkins.

Annie, also a Law School graduate, will continue to work as chief operating officer of her family’s investment partnership, McAllen-based Holand Investments, dividing her time between McAllen and Houston.

As for love, Annie and Cramer had to travel across the country to find what had been in front of them all along. It might be romantic to think that the newlyweds fell in love while growing up together in McAllen, but it didn’t happen that way. Annie is four years older than Cramer, and they ran in different circles.

After high school both went on to attend UT Austin, but that was another near miss.

Somewhere across the country, somewhere bigger and more hectic than McAllen or Austin, Annie and Cramer became more than acquaintances. Both were working in Washington, D.C., he as an assistant to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and she as an executive assistant to the chief of staff for first lady Laura Bush.

The pair finally saw each other socially after pressure from family and friends who told them a friend from home might come in handy in the rough-and-tumble capital.

“We always joke that we had to go to D.C. to date,” Cramer says.

Annie and Cramer may not have been college sweethearts, but their mutual love for all things burnt orange runs deep. In fact, their alma mater provided an excuse for them to spend time together when they first started seeing each other in 2004. They began with what Annie calls a series of “non-dates” centered on Longhorn football. The relationship took off from there.

“Sparks flew pretty quickly,” Cramer says.

Annie drew up her will last year before her wedding, and the decision to include the University came naturally.

“For me, it’s very much about leaving a lasting impression, a legacy,” she says. “You want to pick something that means something. For me, that’s the University.”

Cramer wholeheartedly supports his wife’s decision to include UT Austin in her will.

“For both of us, it’s important to be involved with the University, so I certainly support any decision she makes,” he says.

Says Annie, “We’ve both worked very hard, but we feel that a lot of the opportunities we’ve been afforded have been because of the University.”

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