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Miller, J. Roscoe (James Roscoe), 1905-1977



  • Existence: 1905 - 1977

James Roscoe Miller was born on October 26, 1905 in Murray, Utah. Miller attended the University of Utah, continuing his studies at the school's College of Medicine. However, after two years, Miller transferred to Northwestern University Medical School where he obtained a Bachelor of Medicine degree in 1929. One year later, he was awarded the doctorate in medicine after satisfying the requirement of internship at St. Luke's Hospital.

Once Miller completed his training, he entered practice in association with Dr. William H. Holmes, a prominent internist on the Northwestern University Medical School Faculty. Holmes died prematurely shortly after Miller had entered into the practice, leaving the 35-year old doctor with the rights to the prestigious clinic. Also during this period, Miller joined the faculty of the Northwestern University Medical School, first as a Ward Fellow (1930), then as Instructor (1934), and next as an Associate (1937). In 1939, Miller was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine.

In 1933, Dean Irving S. Cutter named Miller Assistant Dean of the Medical School. After Dr. Cutter presented his decision to retire in 1941, Miller was chosen as his successor, becoming the youngest Dean since the inception of the Medical School. Miller's transition was a rocky one, since it involved a myriad of obstacles, primarily stemming from the Second World War. Military control of nearly all the students, staffing of three overseas hospital-units, and the loss of two-hundred twenty-five members of the Medical Faculty to War Services were just some of the problems that Miller faced at the beginning of his tenure as Dean. Meanwhile, he enlisted as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Medical Reserve Corps in 1940, but in 1944, he decided to directly involve himself within the War effort by joining the U.S. Navy.

Miller returned to Northwestern for the 1945-1946 school year, confronting the problem of restoring order to the Medical School. One pressing demand was for postgraduate instruction in the medical specialties. Such instruction was instituted under the guidance of Miller and has since been successfully maintained as the Graduate Division of the Medical School. Also, Miller had planned to construct a neuropsychiatric hospital, but because of the War and a lack of funding, his plans were disrupted, pushing aside the project. However, the succeeding administration completed the construction of the Morton Research Building. Likewise, Miller's proposal of expanding the Medical School and its hospitals was his initiative, but the completion of these projects was set aside until later administrations. Nevertheless, Miller helped establish affiliations with Veterans' and Children's Memorial Hospitals, both of which proved to be important additions to the Medical School.

On his return from military service, Miller became very involved with the Veterans Administration. In 1946, the VA created a new Department of Medicine and Surgery, and authorized the affiliation of VA hospitals with medical schools in order to provide both medical care to patients and clinical training to medical students. The first such affiliation agreement was established between the Hines VA Hospital in Hines, Illinois, and Northwestern and the University of Illinois Medical Schools. Miller was named Chief of the Cardiology Section of the new Department of Medicine and Surgery, and Senior Medical Consultant for the Hines VA Hospital.

In addition to augmenting the size of the Medical School, Miller helped solidify relations between the Faculty and the Medical School's administration, providing a renewed motivation toward Faculty initiative and a rejuvenated sense of common responsibility through collaborative effort.

In 1949, Miller was elected President of Northwestern University and resigned his position as Dean of the Medical School. For the records of Miller's tenure as President of Northwestern University, see series 3/17/1. His successor as Dean of the Medical School was Richard H. Young (1949-1970); see Series 18/7/3.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

University Presidents J. Roscoe Miller Papers

Identifier: 3/17/1
Abstract J. Roscoe Miller was Northwestern's twelfth President. He served from 1949-1970. These papers document his time as president. They are comprised of 98 Boxes.
Dates: Other: Majority of material found within 1949 - 1970