SUNY Canton Mourns the Passing of Richard W. Miller

Richard MillerProminent patron’s legacy lives on through memories of his generosity, dedication, and charisma.

One of the most well-respected and generous SUNY Canton faculty members in College history has passed away.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus and longstanding Foundation Board Member Richard W. Miller died earlier this morning (Friday, January 6, 2012) at his West Main Street home in Canton. He was 93 years old.

“Dick’s passing saddens me greatly,” said SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy. “In addition to being one of the most respected individuals at the College, he and his wife Irene were personal friends of my family. I’m certain many would join me in saying that their lives have been enriched through his friendship and ongoing dedication to the College and greater Canton Community.”

Mr. Miller began teaching at SUNY Canton (then known as the Agricultural and Technical Institute) on June 7, 1946. He was a professor and Department Chairman of the Electrical Engineering Technology Department. In 1975, he was named an Outstanding Educator in America and the year following he won the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.  In 1982, he received the SUNY Canton College Council’s Distinguished Faculty Award, and in 1990 the Council presented him with the Distinguished Citizen Award. He organized the SUNY Canton chapter of Tau Alpha Pi National Honor Society for Engineering Technology and was an esteemed advisor to the Alpha chapter of the Theta Gamma Fraternity. He retired in 1983.

Richard Miller

“Dick was one of the most influential faculty members to ever teach at SUNY Canton,” Kennedy said. “He assisted countless generations of successful graduates during his career. After he retired, he created scholarships to benefit incoming students. His legacy will live on across the campus.”

In 2003, Mr. Miller became the first donor in College history to make a million dollar donation to the SUNY Canton Foundation. His unrestricted donation led the college to name the then newly constructed campus center in his honor.

“I have had three loves of my life: The first, my wife Irene; the second, my family; and the third, this College,” Mr. Miller said at the Richard W. Miller Campus Center Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

He followed his donation with an additional $50,000 gift to the College in honor of his longstanding friendship with the Kennedys in 2010. Combined with his annual scholarship, Mr. Miller donated more than $1.6 million to SUNY Canton.

“Mr. Miller’s profound impact on SUNY Canton can be seen from anywhere on campus,” said Director of Alumni and Development Peggy S. Levato. “His generosity allowed us to make immeasurable progress at the College. He gave his time and heart to this college and for that, we will forever be indebted to him.”

Many alumni and current students knew Mr. Miller through his frequent involvement in campus following his retirement. In the past year he was a guest of honor at the College’s Kingston Fireplace Dedication, Holiday Luncheon, Scholarship Luncheon, and Alumni Weekend Celebration, among others. He attended his 65th consecutive commencement ceremony in 2011.

Update (Monday, Jan 9): Calling hours are 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, January 12, at Lawrence Funeral Home, 21 Park St., Canton, with a service at 10:30 a.m. Friday, January 13 at the First Presbyterian Church, 17 Park St., and a reception to follow at the Richard W. Miller Campus Center at SUNY Canton. A Masonic service will be held on Thursday 5:45 p.m. Interment will be in Evergreen Cemetery in the spring. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in Richard’s name to the Canton Neighborhood Center, 5 West St., Canton Methodist Church Food Kitchen, or the Richard W. Miller Scholarship at SUNY Canton. Condolences may be sent to www.lawrencefuneralhome.org.

A complete obituary submitted my Mr. Miller’s family can be viewed at http://news.canton.edu/index.php/miller-obituary/

Please use the comments section below to share your memories and reflections.

Update (Saturday Jan. 7): SUNY Canton College Council Chair Ronald M. O’Neill’s Statement on the Passing of Richard W. Miller

“Yesterday, SUNY Canton lost a great friend.  Today, on behalf of the entire College Council, we mourn Dick’s passing and celebrate his life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and many friends.”

“Dick was truly one of a kind.  His contributions to SUNY Canton and the community cannot be measured in mere dollars.  Teacher, mentor, friend, supporter, Dick was all these and much more. For more than six decades, Dick gave of his time, energy and money to ensuring SUNY Canton would continue to grow and flourish.”

“His dedication and fierce loyalty set a shining example for our campus and the greater North Country.  While we will miss his presence at events, and his wise counsel and wit, we know that his legacy at SUNY Canton is enduring, which is just the way he planned it.”

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