A chance encounter adds special meaning to Nathan Miller’s scholarship

Tony and Denise Bartel established the award three years after Miller heard Tony lecture at WSU

Nathan Miller - scholarship recipient
WSU junior Nathan Miller is the first recipient of a scholarship endowed by Tony '86 and Denise Bartel.

Nathan Miller was a senior in high school the first time his life intersected with Tony Bartel ’86.

    Miller, who was visiting the WSU campus to decide whether he wanted to go to college here, attended the James P. Schwartz Memorial Lecture Series delivered that year by Bartel, president of GameStop Corp.

    Three years later, in a case of serendipity, Miller is the inaugural recipient of the Tony and Denise Bartel Endowed Scholarship, targeted at a WSU student showing great promise while overcoming financial obstacles to earn a college degree.

    Miller was so impressed with that 2010 lecture he kept the notes he took during it.

    “He gave a quote that I’ll always remember about being a leader — a leader looks in the mirror when there’s failure but looks out the window when there’s success,” Miller said.

Tony Bartel
Tony Bartel delivering the 2010 James P. Schwartz Memorial Lecture Series at Wichita State.

    Miller, 20, is a junior majoring in management information systems and economics with a minor in philosophy. He is on course to graduate in May 2015. Scholarships are a chief reason he’s been able to stay on course with such a heavy load. They have helped him to afford pre-session and summer session classes, without having to juggle more than one job. He works at The Print Source, and also has had internships at Cessna and Koch Fertilizer.

    “That’s one of the reasons I chose to come to Wichita State,” Miller said. “I was really sold on the experiential opportunities, the chance to be engaged in college experiences as well as co-op and internship opportunities.”

    Miller, whose mother, Karen, is a WSU alumna, is vice president of his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, and a member of the Barton International Group (BIG), a consulting firm founded by students in the W. Frank Barton School of Business. The organization provides members with professional experience outside of the classroom. Miller visited China two summers ago as part of a BIG trip.

    After watching two older siblings struggle with paying for college, Miller is grateful for scholarships that have allowed him to focus on his studies while also enjoying college activities.

“We would not have had these opportunities had someone not helped us during a very important time of learning.” 

- Tony Bartel

    That’s exactly what Tony and Denise Bartel hoped to accomplish with their scholarship.

    “We hope that the scholarship allows for students to spend more time learning and developing key relationships than focusing on their financial situation,” Tony Bartel said. “When we attended Wichita State, we were newly married and working full-time. Without someone providing us with financial assistance, we would not have been able to continue our college career. So we are excited to be able to provide assistance to others in a similar situation.”

    The success he has had in careers at Pepsi, Yum Brands and GameStop was made possible in part because of the education he received at WSU, said Bartel, who graduated summa cum laude in business administration. Today, he and Denise live in Allen, Texas, and have six children.

    “We would not have had these opportunities had someone not helped us during a very important time of learning,” Bartel said. “So we are happy to be able to help others get a similar start.”


circle arrow If you would like to establish a scholarship to help deserving students, please contact Mike Lamb, WSU Foundation vice president for planned and annual giving, at 316-978-3804 or at mike.lamb@wichita.edu.

Tony Bartel

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