MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU announced Monday that former president Dr. Paul Miller died Friday at the age of 98.
West Virginia University’s 15th president and Hancock County native served his country in World War II in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a navigator in the AAF Ferry Command. When the war was over he earned his Ph.D. at Michigan St. and launched an academic career of over 50 years.
Miller is most known for making expanding WVU’s land-grant service mission a major priority with his background with Extension.
“I felt Extension was so powerful that it needed to come out of that narrowly defined role and become an arm of the whole university,” Miller said once. “We created the Center for Appalachian Studies and Development to house all the University’s outreach programs. It was relatively unique nationally at that time. Though the center no longer exists in name, Extension still acts as an arm of the whole university.”
Current WVU President Gordon Gee said the model shaped WVU for the 21st century.
“Even now, a half-century later, many of nation’s Extension offices still reside in university agricultural programs,” Gee said. “Because WVU Extension is an autonomous unit, its experts have the freedom to collaborate with educators from across all university disciplines.”
President Lyndon Johnson appointed Miller the first Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare in 1966. He was the WVU president for four years, from 1962-1966.
In 2006, Miller and his wife created the Paul A. and Francena L. Miller Presidential Scholarship at WVU.