Thomas W. Miller, former dean of the Northwestern University School of Music, died Sunday, October 7, at age 88.
Born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, on July 2, 1930, Miller received his bachelor's in music education from his home state's West Chester University in 1952. After serving in the U.S. Second Army Band from 1952 to 1955 and as director of instrumental music at Susquenita High School in Pennsylvania from 1955 to 1956, he earned his master's in music at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, in 1957. In 1964 Miller earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Boston University, where he served as assistant conductor of university bands from 1961 to 1962. He then returned to the School of Music at East Carolina University, where he rose from trumpet instructor to dean.
Miller began his tenure as dean of the Northwestern School of Music in 1971. He brought sweeping revisions to the undergraduate curriculum, increased the number of guest artists and professional conventions on campus, helped inaugurate new degree programs, forged partnerships with the Ravinia festival, and started the school’s Fanfare magazine. His deanship also saw the opening of Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in 1975 and Regenstein Hall of Music in 1977 – both of which are still used by the Bienen School of Music today. After stepping down as dean in 1989, Miller took a year's leave of absence and then continued to serve as professor of music education until his retirement in 1995.
Miller served as president and vice president of Pi Kappa Lambda and the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), member of the NASM executive committee, chair of the NASM graduate commission, and member of the College Music Society. He was named an honorary life member of NASM, life member of Music Educators National Conference, honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and honorary life regent of Pi Kappa Lambda. In 1989 he received the Orpheus Award from Phi Mu Alpha.