Dean Emeritus Arjay Miller Celebrates 100 Years

On March 4, 2016, Stanford GSB marked the 100th birthday of the dean who created the nation’s first Public Management Program.

March 04, 2016


Arjay Miller

Into his late 90’s, Dean Emeritus Arjay Miller participated in commencement to shake the hand of the academically top 10 percent of the graduating MBA class who are designated as Arjay Miller Scholars.

When the former Ford Motor president was named the sixth dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business Arjay Miller had never set foot on the Stanford campus, yet very quickly he changed the school forever.

A near-mythic figure who led Stanford GSB for 10 years beginning in 1969, Arjay Miller presided smoothly and calmly over tremendous change and progress. He quadrupled the school’s endowment, multiplied the number of endowed chairs, and recruited outstanding professors from a variety of disciplines to put the school on the cutting edge of business education. However, the legacy for which he will be remembered most is the 1971 formation of the Public Management Program, the first of its kind in the nation.

Miller made it a condition of accepting the deanship that a program be created to develop leaders with business skills who could rise to meet the social challenges facing the nation. The PMP provided courses focusing on the study of government and public policy, and reserved space within the school for students who were interested in going to work for government. Essentially, Miller envisioned a program that would give Stanford GSB a social conscience, and graduate MBAs who would understand that their hard-won management skills might be useful outside the corporate boardroom.

The PMP has evolved over the past 45 years, yet remains as relevant as ever. Every year, about one in four MBA graduates complete the required coursework to earn the PMP certificate upon graduation.

Under Miller’s leadership, Stanford GSB continued to foster rigorous research and teaching of real-world management practice. Upon his 1979 retirement, in recognition of his steadfast commitment to this ‘balanced excellence’ the faculty by unanimous vote agreed that the academically top 10 percent of the graduating MBA class should be designated as Arjay Miller Scholars.

Throughout his long life, Miller’s recognition of a greater good beyond himself not only shaped his own path; through his leadership at Stanford GSB, he also changed the landscape of management education and is the very embodiment of the school’s mantra to “change lives, change organizations, change the world.”

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