Richard Miller

Visiting Professor, Richard Miller
Jerome C. Hunsaker Visiting Professor

MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Building 37-327
Cambridge, MA 02139

rkmiller [at]
Administrative Assistant

Richard Miller is Jerome C. Hunsaker Visiting Professor or Aerospace Systems at MIT, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and President Emeritus at Olin College of Engineering where he served for 21 years as the first president. As Olin’s first employee, he led the development of all aspects of the academic, administrative, student life, financial, and physical facilities of the College.  Previously, he served as Dean of Engineering at the University of Iowa and Associate Dean of Engineering at the University of Southern California.  He has contributed internationally to innovation in higher education, and led efforts in the US at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and National Science Foundation to advance engineering research and education.  One of the three founders of the NAE Grand Challenge Scholars Program, he has served as an advisor to the engineering schools at Harvard, Stanford, the US Military Academy at West Point, and others.  With a background in applied mechanics, he worked for 15 years as a senior consultant at Astro Aerospace Corporation on the design a very large deployable space structures (Heliogyro, SOLARES, others).  With joint appointments in Civil Engineering, he has also contributed to research on novel approaches to protecting buildings from strong ground motion during earthquakes.

Academic Degrees

B.S., 1971, University of California, Davis; S.M., 1972, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ph.D., 1976, California Institute of Technoligy

Honors and Awards

Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences; Fellow, National Academy of Inventors; Member, National Academy of Engineering; Brock International Prize in Education; Bernard M. Gordon Prize (NAE); Donald E. Marlowe Award (ASEE); Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award; UC Davis Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award; Legacy of Iowa Engineering Award (University of Iowa); TRW Excellence in Teaching Award (USC); David M. Wilson Associates Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in Civil Engineering (USC); Most Appreciated Faculty Member Award, Department of Mechanical and Environmental Engineering (UC Santa Barbara).

Society Memberships

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; American Society of Mechanical Engineers; American Society of Civil Engineers; Engineering Mechanics Institute (Fellow); American Society for Engineering Education.

Positions Held at MIT

Jerome C. Hunsaker Visiting Professor of Aerospace Systems (2020-21)

Positions Held outside MIT

Olin College of Engineering: President and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, (1999-2020); University of Iowa: Dean, College of Engineering and Professor of Civil Engineering, (1992-1999);  University of Southern California: Associate Dean of School of Engineering—Academic Affairs (1989-92); Professor of Civil Engineering and of Aerospace Engineering (1985-92);  Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and of Aerospace Engineering (1984-85);  Administrative Officer and Associate Professor of Civil Engineering (1982-84);  Associate Professor of Civil Engineering (1979-82);  University of California, Santa Barbara: Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Environmental Engineering (1976-79);  Acting Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Environmental Engineering (1975-76).

Specialization and Research Interests

Technical interests in applied mechanics with special focus on nonlinear structural dynamics, stochastic vibrations, wave propagation in frictionally bonded solids, vibro-impact of adjacent structures, mechanics wrinkling in thin membranes, mechanics of deployment of folded or pre-buckled articulated beams and trusses, and inflatable columns.  Design of base isolation systems and active feedback control for earthquake protection of structures.  More recent interests lie in innovation in higher education, particularly STEM education.  Design thinking, intrinsic motivation, growth mindset, and human flourishing.  Design of experimental pedagogical approaches.  Development of Identity, Agency and Purpose in undergraduate students through intentional pedagogical design.  Formation of a national Coalition for Life-Transformative Education.

Teaching Interests

Issues in Leadership and Ethics; Developing faculty culture of collaboration and experimental design of innovative pedagogical approaches.