A Woman with a Bold Idea

Florence Lowden Miller had a bold idea. As president of the Board of Directors of the Pullman Free School of Manual Training, the vocational school endowed by her late grandfather, the industrialist George Pullman, she faced a dilemma. Innovative for its time, for 33 years Pullman Tech (as it was affectionately known in the community) had prepared more than 1,200 young men and women to enter the workforce by offering vocational training. But as enrollment dwindled, Mrs. Miller made the difficult decision to close the school.

A life-long philanthropist, passionate about education, Mrs. Miller petitioned the Superior Court of Cook County to use funds from Pullman’s estate to charter a new institution to “support qualified individuals primarily for post-secondary education.” The culmination of her vision and tenacity is the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation – and the nearly 12,000 Chicago-area students who have realized their dream of earning a college degree.  

Mrs. Miller understood that a college education can change the trajectory of a young person’s life. Now, more than 70 years later, we are proud to continue her legacy.