College professor, homestead farmer, ‘grampa,’ powder ski hound.
Professor Emeritus Ralph Henry Miller, former chair of the College of Business Administration’s technology and operations management department, died on April 19 after a long battle with a rare genetic strain of cancer. He was 73.
The longtime Claremont resident was born in Berkley and raised on the three generational family homestead ranch near Gustine, where he helped his father and brother build their ranch house.
Miller earned a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley in 1967 and his master’s degree from San Jose State in 1970.
After receiving a doctorate in psychology from Claremont Graduate School, where he was the founding director of the Center for Applied Social Research, he was hired by Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Business Administration.
He served as chair of the technology and operations management (TOM) department for eight years and was integral in the college’s successful efforts to achieve accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. He was the founding chair of the University Council of Chairs and served in that capacity for three years. He was a founding member of the California State University Production Operations Management Faculty Association, serving as its first president and then as its secretary for more than 15 years.
His service to the students of Cal Poly Pomona was exemplified in his contributions to the student advising programs for more than 15 years. He received the department’s outstanding faculty award three times, the college’s outstanding advisor award, and the college’s outstanding advisor award, given at the university level. His contributions and recognition extended to his service for the business honorary society, Beta Gamma Sigma, from which he received the organization’s outstanding professor award in 2006.
He also served as the campus advisor for Delta Sigma Pi, the co-educational international business fraternity for 25 years and was recognized by the group as the outstanding advisor for the western region and twice recognized as the outstanding advisor for the Pacific coast. The Academic Senate also awarded him professor emeritus status.
Miller’s daily dedication to his students was especially evident in the classroom, where on occasion he would jump out of a hand-painted phone booth made from a bed sheet dressed as “Chi-Square Man” to present a complex lesson on calculating distribution with fervor, patience and his dry sense of humor.
A lifelong outdoorsman, he enjoyed all water sports and was a skilled hunter. Miller also was an avid skier. He made it a point to ski every year for 50 years, right up until this past season.
“He collected—as he would put it—ski resorts,” said his best friend, Steve Cumins.
His brother, Martin Miller, predeceased him.
He is survived by his younger sister, Melissa Miller; wife, Nan; children, Lee Kimmel (Erika) and Sarah Kimmel; and the “lights-of-his-life,” his four wonderful grandchildren, Kyla and Toby Speigel, Cameron Kimmel and Michael Rieger; two nephews, Marc and Mitch Miller; and a great-nephew, Russell Miller.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 19 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Claremont School of Theology’s Kresge Chapel, 1325 N. College Ave., Claremont.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Cal Poly Pomona’s technology and operations management department online at give.cba.cpp.edu or by mail at 3801 W. Temple Ave., Pomona, CA 91768. For more information about donating, email Jeffrey Cox at email@example.com.
Donations also can be made to the Ralph H. Miller Endowed Fellowship for Evaluation at Claremont Graduate University. To donate online or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks may be mailed to the Ralph H. Miller Endowed Fellowship for Evaluation at Claremont Graduate University, c/o Todd Mandel, 165 E. 10th St., Claremont, CA 91711.