Arjay Miller, a former dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business who was committed to encouraging business and public sector partnerships to improve society, died Nov. 3 in Woodside, California. He was 101.
As the school’s fourth dean, Miller quadrupled the endowment, increased the number of endowed chairs, hired outstanding new faculty leaders and significantly increased the numbers of minorities and women who attended the school. During his 10 years as dean from 1969 to 1979, Miller championed the idea of a “balanced excellence” that included excellence in academics, research and teaching as well as a foundation in business skills to benefit the public good.
“He was genuinely interested in providing GSB students with rich experiences and involvement in the public sector,” said James VanHorne, the A. P. Giannini Professor of Banking and Finance, Emeritus, who was a close friend of Miller’s. “He had a strong belief that those issues were very important and he felt that if you could work with individuals and organizations and help them be good managers things could be better.”
Miller was born in Shelby, Nebraska, on March 4, 1916. He grew up on his family’s farm and attended UCLA, where he graduated with highest honors in 1937. While there he met his wife, Frances, to whom he was married for 70 years. Miller then enrolled as a doctoral student in economics at the University of California, Berkeley, although his studies were interrupted when he left to serve as an Air Force officer in World War II.
After the war, Miller was one of 10 young officers dubbed the Whiz Kids hired into the Ford Motor Co. to help turn the company around. He rose to become president of Ford from 1963 until 1968. He was then recruited to become dean of Stanford GSB.
Miller is survived by his son, Ken, and daughter, Ann, three granddaughters, and six great grandchildren.