Byrne Hall

Byrne Hall
The Academy building was turned over to DePaul University, and renamed Byrne Hall. Bygone DePaul | Special Collections & Archives


About the DePaul Emeritus Society

DePaul University values its ongoing connections with its faculty and staff retirees, as it values their past contributions to the university’s mission. The DePaul University Emeritus Society was founded in 2008 with the merger of the Staff Emeritus Society and the Emeritus Professors Association. The Society is sponsored by the University’s Office of Mission and Values.

The purpose of the DePaul Emeritus Society is to provide a means for ongoing connection, communication, and socialization between the university and its emeritus faculty and staff, and between individual retirees whose professional lives were for so many years dedicated to university service.

Photos, events, and information of interest to members of the DePaul Emeritus Society will be posted to this blog. Please take a look, add your comment, offer to be an "author" or just enjoy.

Friday, October 1, 2010

In Memoriam - Frederick Miller

Frederick S. Miller ; 1930--2006; DePaul music dean brought school to a crescendo; Passionate educator thought of university's program as his baby-- and spent 19 years elevating it to national recognition

Frederick S. Miller's passion for music grew from a desire to learn the trombone as a young man to becoming dean of DePaul University's School of Music, which became nationally recognized as a quality institution during his 19-year tenure.  "Before Fred came, the school had some pockets of excellence but as a whole was not a distinguished institution," said Donald Casey, who was dean after Dr. Miller retired in 1996. "It is my sense that the path the school traveled in those 19 years was so steeply uphill, it could almost not be imagined as possible if you were to look at it from the other end. It is clear that Fred Miller brought a vision to this place for what it could become, and we have been rapidly realizing that vision for over 30 years now."  Dr. Miller, 75, of Wilmette died of pulmonary fibrosis on Wednesday, Feb. 1, in Evanston Hospital.

"Fred could be tough on matters of principle; he was willful and carried a strong voice," Casey said. "On the other hand, he was a compassionate, kind, generous, caring individual who was extraordinarily giving and loyal to his friends and family."  In the months before DePaul hired Dr. Miller, it had been considering closing its school of music. Instead it opted to recruit a "top-flight dean" and provide new facilities, Casey said.  Prior to Dr. Miller's arrival, the school had not required students to audition for admission and had an uneven enrollment, heavy on drummers and light on musicians playing other instruments. He instituted admission standards that included auditions and academic criteria.  "Fred also could see as he was considering the position that he would have the opportunity to replace the choir, wind ensemble and orchestra directors who were all approaching retirement," Casey said. "He recruited and hired top-flight directors for those positions. A school of music is carried by the quality of their performing groups, and that is those three and opera and jazz. He worked to build all five."  The school now has a faculty of 110 professional musicians who are respected conductors, composers and performers, including members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Many of its students also perform with those renowned institutions and others.

"Fred loved DePaul," said his wife, Florence, who had been his college sweetheart before they married in 1959. "They had a school of music there when he came, but he could see the potential of being in the city with access to so many talented people and the opportunity to build a school. He just loved building that program and thought of it as his baby."

Born in Lima, Ohio, Dr. Miller was in the Navy for four years, performing in a band unit in North Carolina. After his discharge in 1952, he received a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's in music, both from Northwestern University.  He began his teaching career in 1958 as an assistant professor, brass instructor and assistant band director at the University of Arkansas. Six years later, he joined Northwestern's music faculty, rising to associate dean. During those years, he heard Casey play the trumpet in his high school orchestra and recruited him to attend Northwestern.  Dr. Miller received his doctorate in music performance and literature from the University of Iowa in 1974 and the following year was recruited by DePaul.  Among his achievements was founding DePaul's Community Music Division, which provides high-quality music instruction to children and adults. He also expanded the school's annual schedule to more than 300 public performances to showcase student and faculty talent.

During his many years in academia, Dr. Miller taught orchestration, conducting, music education, wind literature, brass research and performance. He published compositions and appeared as a clinician, soloist, adjudicator and guest conductor at concerts and music education events throughout the Midwest and South.  He enjoyed traveling and for many years raced his sailboat on Lake Michigan.

Other survivors include a daughter, Jennifer Greene; a son, John; and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the DePaul School of Music Concert Hall, 800 W. Belden Ave., Chicago.

Chicago Tribune, Feb 11, 2006, pg. 23, Barbara Sherlock Tribune staff reporter

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