Long serving Texas Tech dairy scientist, teacher Max Miller dies at 85
By: Norman Martin
Ronald 'Max' Miller, one of the longest-serving faculty members at Texas Tech University and a treasured professor emeritus within the Department of Animal & Food Sciences, died Sept. 2 in Brownfield, Texas. He was 85.
“Max was a legendary teacher in AFS teaching for more than 55 years,” said Leslie Thompson, professor and undergraduate food science coordinator with the Department of Animal & Food Sciences. “He taught a variety of dairy science and food science classes, and made lasting impacts on no telling how many students over the years. He loved teaching and loved helping students – what a tremendous legacy.”
Jhones Sarturi, an associate professor of beef cattle nutrition and metabolism with the Department of Animal & Food Sciences, added that Miller was, “a true legend of the food industry, which left an honorable legacy at our home department. I feel honored for knowing him.”
Miller came from Brownfield to Texas Tech in 1955, where he finished his degree in three years and went to Michigan State to get a master's degree. He came back to Lubbock and began teaching at Texas Tech in 1960, went back to Michigan State for a few years to get his doctorate and returned to Texas Tech in 1971 to pursue his love of teaching.
Honors include being named to the inaugural faculty group inducted into Texas Tech's Teaching Academy in 1995, as well as receiving the Texas Tech President's Excellence in Teaching Award, Texas State FFA Honorary Degree, and being named to the Texas Food Processors' Association and the Dairy Products Institute's Halls of Fame.
When he first began teaching in 1960, Miller would take his lab students to the Dairy Barn to educate them about inspection of dairy facilities. He taught everything from beginning dairy and food science classes, to food microbiology and food chemistry, food analysis, fruits and vegetables processing. While pursuing his career at Texas Tech, he continued to work on and manage the family farm raising cotton, peanuts, sorghum and show cattle.
One of Miller's greatest pleasure in being a professor at Texas Tech lay in helping students get good jobs and watching them progress. Many students said that Miller's food science class was the hardest class they ever took, but they also say he was a professor that really cared. He was a member of the Institute of Food Technologists, American Dairy Science Association, Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists, Texas Milk, Food & Environmental Sanitarians' State Board of Directors, and the Texas Food Processors Association.
Cindy Akers, Interim Dean of the Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, noted that the college's development & alumni relations office directs two scholarships honoring Miller: the Max & Roma Miller Endowed Scholarship, and the Sam Miller Memorial Endowed Scholarship.
“Dr. Miller is a great example of a person who has had a global impact without traveling the world,” said Michael Orth, a professor within Tech's Department of Animal and Food Sciences. “His teaching and mentoring of students, along with his efforts to secure positions for them after graduation, has led to Texas Tech graduates making significant and lasting contributions in the food science industry nationally and internationally.”
CONTACT: Cindy Akers, Interim Dean, Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or email@example.com
0907NM22 / Editor's Note: Brownfield Funeral Home will hold visitation from 5 to 6 p.m. on Sunday (Sept. 11) with funeral services the following day at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church at 219 W Main St. in Brownfield. Miller is survived by his wife of 67 years, Roma Miller, son and daughter-in-law Paul and Carlee Miller.
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Editor: Norman Martin
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