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Ships Ahoy!: A Q&A with Richard Miller '64


1/9/2003
This brief Q&A interview is part of an ongoing series designed to help us get to know our brothers better. If you know a brother you think would make a good profile candidate, please send his name and graduation year, along with your name and graduation year, to our alumni relations service: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Make sure to mention that it's for Fiji Purdue.

(Q) Why did you join Phi Delta Gamma?
(A) Now that is a broad question! I didn't want to go to college for four years and live in a dormitory. I wanted to be in a smaller, tighter knit group of fellows, so I investigated fraternities, and I thought Phi Delta Gamma was the best one. The fellows themselves seemed to be more intelligent, more knowledgeable. Just better guys.

(Q) What is your favorite memory?
(A) There is no one memory. Just a lot - A LOT - of fun, memorable experiences.

(Q) What kind of influence has the fraternity had on your life since graduation?
(A) I think the fraternity made me more self-confident, more assured that I could do things that I hadn't done before. It just made me a better, well-rounded, well-spoken person. I was an officer my senior year, the corresponding secretary. And I'm glad I did that, because I assumed that since I was the corresponding secretary, I would be corresponding after I graduated. So, I started putting together an annual class newsletter. That was in 1965, before Xerox and photocopiers had been heard of. So when I went to mail these letters, they had to be retyped on mimeograph - I conned my secretary into doing them. Nowadays, all my class is on e-mail, and I have a broadcast code set up, so by pressing one button, I can send them to the whole class! Every five years, when we have a reunion, we get together at Homecoming at Purdue and see each other. We don't do the newsletter during those years.

(Q) With whom do you stay in contact? And is there anyone with whom you've lost touch that you would like to find?
(A) I'm pretty much in contact with my whole class. But recently, I did go on a cruise with several brothers and their wives. The story behind the cruise is this. Purdue went to the Rose Bowl about three years ago, and there were probably seven of my brothers and wives who went to that Rose Bowl. But there were five of us that got together in a restaurant after the game. We yucked it up, had a great time and made a lot of noise! Well, one wife said, "You guys have such a good time when you get together, you should consider getting together and going on a cruise." Nothing more was said at that time. But I thought about that later and e-mailed a note to everybody asking who might be interested in doing that. So, seven guys came back and said they'd like to. My travel agent in Chicago put together a trip. It's funny; I thought the toughest part of planning it would be finding a time and place that everyone would agree to. But it wasn't. The hardest part was deciding whether we would eat at the early or the late sitting at dinner! We went on the cruise this past March to the Mexican Riviera. We left out of San Diego, went down the Mexican coast and back to San Diego. It was seven days, and we just had a ball! The group who went includes Jerry Bean '64, Ailbe Burke '65, Bob Swinehart '65, Greg Hales '64, Jerry Lyles '64 and Fred Schramm '64 and their wives. We were all in the same class. A cruise is fun and being with all the people from your own class just makes it more fun. It comes with a high recommendation!

(Q) What other activities did you enjoy in college?
(A) I was on the Junior Board of the Student Union. That was really my only other activity, as I didn't go in for sports.

(Q) Did you live in the house? If so, who were your roommates? Tell us about a memorable time with them.
Yes, and my roommates were Jim Deible '65, Bob Swinehart, John Zaloudek '64, Bill Brock '64, Ed Jones '65 and Don Storner '63. We had new roommates every semester. It was a nice way to get to know different men in the house. It's really the only way to do it. I remember Gordon Teter '66 who was two years behind me and was one of the halfbacks on the football team. Teter was the guy who went on to become president of Wendy's. He had a photographic memory and was in a biology class with my roommate. When they would get together to study for a test, they would ask each other questions, but they wouldn't ask Gordon Teter, because he knew everything. But when they got stuck, they could turn to him and he would tell them the page and column the answer was on. He was like a book for knowing things, but when it came to applying the information, he was no better than anyone else.

Another time that I remember, we had a go-kart race, the Purdue Annual Grand Prix on campus. In order to start the go-kart, we had a can of starting fluid that was really ether, which is extremely flammable. So one guy with no brains thought it was funny to put ether in his Zippo lighter. So when he lit it, he got a flame about a foot tall. He brought it in our room one night and lit it. Everyone was impressed, until it got hot and he couldn't close it. Then he dropped it on our nylon rug. So to keep it from catching the rug on fire, we kept kicking it around, until it went under a chair. Finally, we threw the chair over and kicked the lighter into the hallway. Nobody was killed, but I could have killed the guy who brought it into our room.

Tell us about your family.
I was never married. I am still a bachelor. I am from Dayton, Ohio, went to Purdue and came back to Ohio.

What do you do for a living?
My undergraduate degree was in mechanical engineering, and my graduate degree was in business administration, so I went to work for Owens Corning Fiberglass, as an engineer. This is strange. I was working as an engineer in the engineering department, but most of what I used was the business administration because I was a project manager. I had to manage and supervise other engineers, so I had to know about accounting, budget management, schedules, contracting – a lot of administration rather than engineering. I worked there for 31 years. I am now retired.

What hobbies do you enjoy?
I play golf.

What are your goals for the next few years?
I want to make a hole in one! Even though I live in Columbus, Ohio, I play about 11 months out of the year.

Brothers who want to get in contact can e-mail Richard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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