Improving lives through invention

Richard K. Miller

Richard K. Miller was appointed president and first employee of Olin College of Engineering in 1999. Olin was founded to radically change engineering education with the goal of fueling the technical innovation needed to solve the world’s complex future challenges. Under his leadership, Olin’s approach has proven successful by all measures. It is attracting the country’s top faculty and students who are passionate about learning and making a difference in the world. The student body is gender balanced and has one of the highest graduation rates in the country.

Rick’s passion for connecting students’ educational experience with societal challenges is evident through his work on the Grand Challenges for Engineering. He believes that change is needed within education to better prepare the next generation for a more complex and competitive world. In particular, he aims to inspire change in higher education that cultivates the inventive spirit in all students and empowers them to apply their skills and knowledge to solve the pressing problems of society.

Before joining Olin, Richard served as Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa from 1992-99. The previous 17 years were spent on the Engineering faculty at USC in Los Angeles and UCSB in Santa Barbara.

With a background in applied mechanics and current interests in innovation in higher education, Miller is the author of more than 100 reviewed journal articles and other technical publications. Together with two Olin colleagues, he received the 2013 Bernard M. Gordon Prize from the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education. A member of both the NAE and the National Academy of Inventors, he received the Marlowe Award for creative and distinguished administrative leadership from the American Society for Engineering Education in 2011. Miller served as Chair of the Engineering Advisory Committee of the U.S. National Science Foundation and has served on advisory boards and committees for Harvard University, Stanford University, the NAE and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in addition to others. Furthermore, he has served as a consultant to the World Bank in the establishment of new universities.

A frequent speaker on engineering education, he received the 2002 Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award from the University of California at Davis, where he earned his B.S. He earned his M.S. from MIT and Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, where he received the 2014 Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award.