PPIC dedicated the Arjay Miller Room yesterday at its Bechtel Conference Center—a meeting and learning space at the institute’s San Francisco headquarters. Three generations of the Miller family and many longtime friends and colleagues celebrated Arjay Miller’s life and the opportunity to carry on his legacy. Among the tributes were videos from those unable to attend in person.
As Mas Masumoto—farmer, author, and chair of PPIC’s board of directors—put it, “Within these walls will be lively conversations that I believe will be in the spirit of Arjay and what he wanted so much. This room will encourage constructive dialog about opportunities and challenges facing the state.”
Miller was a giant in the business world who built a legacy through his service to others. He was one of the ten “whiz kids” who left the Pentagon after World War II to resuscitate the Ford Motor Company. He had become president of Ford by the time he was appointed dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. There, he brought the first women onto the faculty and expanded the curriculum to include public policy, social issues, and ethics. He also established the Public Management Program, which has trained thousands of public sector managers.
One of Miller’s deepest beliefs was in the power of information to create positive change. It was this conviction—along with an awareness of California’s leadership on important national issues—that led him to cofound the Public Policy Institute of California in 1994. Mark Baldassare, PPIC’s president and CEO, said, “He loved California. He loved public policy. He loved data analysis, and he loved solving problems. So he loved PPIC.”
Miller served as the chair of PPIC’s board of directors from 1995 to 1998 and remained a member of the board until 2006. He was a trusted advisor and generous supporter to the end of his life. By serving as a gathering place for conversation and problem-solving, the Arjay Miller Room honors his contributions to PPIC as well as his commitment to serious analysis and nonpartisan collaboration.