Millikin’s Longest Serving President Passes at 88

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DECATUR – Millikin University officials announce Millikin University President Emeritus Dr. J. Roger Miller passed away at the age of 88 on Wednesday, October 14.

Miller served as president of Millikin University from 1971 to 1991. He initially came to the university as head of the music education program in 1959. In 1960, he became dean of the School of Music and was then promoted to vice president for academic affairs in 1966.

Former President Emeritus Miller also served as executive vice president when President Dr. Paul McKay became ill with cancer. President McKay passed in 1971, and Miller then became Millikin’s ninth president.

Miller was known for his “planning and creating a strategic plan for the ‘70s and ‘80s with a goal to carry Millikin through to the 21st century.”

He is remembered as wanting students to be provided with a liberal arts education that provided them with practical professional skills for their careers. This is said to be true to the Performance Learning model set by University Founder James Millikin.

“President Emeritus Miller was a leader whose impact on the University he served so long and well is still being felt,” current Millikin University President Dr. Patrick E. White said.

Miller’s tenure saw the building of the Staley Library, along with a new student center and four new residence halls. Shilling Hall was also completed in his time at the university. The James Millikin Scholars and the Presidential Scholars programs were also introduced and doubled in size during Miller’s tenure.

Millikin media officials also say Miller was a very involved president. His wife Arlene hosted and attended many events with her husband, along with completing a second bachelor’s degree at Millikin. The couple was recently on campus in May 2013 for their granddaughter’s commencement.

He is survived by his wife Arlene, four children, nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Millikin University also announced they will be holding a service to honor and remember President Emeritus J. Roger Miller. Information about these proceedings will be provided as soon as plans are finalized.

(Photo courtesy of Millikin University Media Relations.)

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