Share the wealth

By By The Chronicle's View

By The Chronicle’s View

One of the great things about living in America is the limitless potential for wealth that our citizens enjoy. Larry H. Miller is sure glad he’s had that freedom, and he has put down almost $450,000 this year alone to secure the right to the pursue a better life for 44 students from diverse backgrounds at the U.

Miller has drawn the ire of many Utah citizens for his various views and dealings, but he must be lauded for his commitment to a civic duty that should compel all of us: to give back what we can.

Miller, of course, has the luxury of being rich. But that doesn’t diminish the importance of what he’s done. With his generous scholarships, he has single-handedly improved a serious deficiency at the U: the promotion of diversity.

The federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised in nine years, and many struggling low-income families have been hit hard by recent economic struggles. Our taxes don’t provide our government enough to give every child a chance at higher education, and the Utah Legislature confirmed just how strong its commitment to education is this last time around.

Philanthropic acts such as Miller’s are as essential as ever for the pursuit of equality in an ever-polarizing capitalist society, and higher education is an integral element of that pursuit.

Many will accuse Miller of simply providing the scholarship money for personal gain, but that criticism is probably misdirected. His donation amounts to a rather large sum-even for him-and he hasn’t ever raised this story to anybody’s attention by himself.

Even if he does somehow benefit, the reason our government came up with tax breaks is to even out the playing field for the underprivileged and redistribute America’s wealth through opportunity.

Every child deserves a fair chance to receive an education and make his or her own name. Miller has set an example of giving money for educational diversity and should be followed.

Miller may be insensitive to certain groups of people-demonstrated by his saying that he would prefer that the U not give scholarships to undocumented students if there were enough “properly qualified” candidates-but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s donating $450,000 this year alone to students from diverse backgrounds, paying for not only students’ tuition, but also their room, board and textbooks.

Miller’s generosity reminds us that we all should also be giving something back to the community, but not necessarily from our bank accounts.

We can all afford to give something-whether it’s for education, diversity or something else that’s important to us.

Even if we don’t own multiple businesses, we’re all blessed with time to spare for those who are less fortunate.

The Bennion Center-among countless other campus and city organizations that depend on volunteers-is just waiting for your call.