George A. Miller

When George A. Miller died in 1951 he left an estate of almost a million dollars to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign “to be used . . . for educational purposes . . . other than current general operating expenses.”

Born at Lynneville, Pennsylvania, in 1863, Miller received B.A. and M.A. degrees from Muhlenberg College and the Ph.D. in 1893 from Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee. Before coming to Illinois, he taught at Michigan, Cornell, and Stanford. He received the international mathematics prize in 1900 and was president of the Mathematical Association of America in 1921. Miller was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He was the author of more than twenty volumes of publications and was well known for his work in the theory of finite groups.

Professor Miller was devoted to this University and to his field of mathematics. He worked daily in his office at Altgeld Hall until a few months before his death. After the death of his wife, Cassandra Boggs Miller, in 1949, he took his meals in the company of students in the Illini Union. Few knew that this quiet, plainly dressed, unassuming man was a world-recognized mathematician, and no one guessed that he had more than meager savings.

Miller accumulated his fortune through thrifty management and wise investment of his modest salary. He is said to have remarked, “Everything I have I have received from the University, and I simply want to repay my obligation.”

Daniel Alpert

Daniel Alpert Lecture

The Daniel Alpert Lecture was initiated by the 1986-87 George A. Miller Committee to honor Daniel Alpert. Alpert became the Director of the Center for Advanced Study in 1972 and was instrumental in the establishment of several trans-disciplinary centers and programs including the George A. Miller Program and the Program in Science, Technology, and Society.

“The lecture will be given by a distinguished individual from academic, industrial, or public life on a topic which relates to Daniel Alpert’s continuing interest in promoting communications across disciplinary boundaries and relating the search for new knowledge to the capacity for using knowledge effectively in dealing with human problems.”

In 1995, Dan Alpert further refined this to “Relating the search for new knowledge to the enhancement of public understanding.”


Past Daniel Alpert lecturers include:

Richard J. Boland, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, “Knowledge Work Gone Adrift in the Information Age”

John Seely Brown, Chief Scientist, Xerox Corporation and Director, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), “Design that Honors the Social Mind: Beyond Descartes and the Information Revolution”

Aaron Wildavsky, Survey Research Center, University of California at Berkeley, “But Is It True? Toward a Citizen Understanding of Science and Technology”

John H. Gibbons, Director of the Congressional Office of Technology, Washington D. C., “Science and Technology: Opportunities and Challenges for Governance”

Dorothy Nelkin, University Professor, Professor of Sociology and Affiliated Professor in the School of Law, New York University, “Dangerous Diagnostics: The Social Power of Genetic Tests”

Lewis Branscomb, Director of the Science, Public Policy and Technology Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, “The Wellsprings of American Technology: Balancing Public and Private Interests in Science and Technology”

Paulo Friere, Pontificia Universidade Catholica de San Paulo, Brazil, sharing his thoughts in “A Conversation with Paulo Fiere”

Frederick Reif, Professor of Physics and Education, University of California at Berkeley, “Science, Cognitive Science and Computers: Prospects for Improving Education”

Peggy Harris

Peggy Harris Memorial

Before her death in 1994, Peggy Harris was an academic administrator at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for over 32 years, principally in the Graduate College, the Center for Advanced Study, and the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences. The Peggy Harris Memorial fund was established by her husband, Joe Harris, at the time of her death. The purpose of this fund is to support the CAS/MillerComm Lecture series and by doing so be listed as one of the permanent co-sponsors on publicity materials.

James Marchand

James Marchand Memorial Fund

James Marchand was CAS Professor emeritus of Germanic Languages & Literatures. Following his death on December 31, 2021, his family established a gift fund in his honor. This fund will be listed as one of the permanent co-sponsors of the CAS/MillerComm Lecture series.

Ledyard R. Tucker

Ledyard R. Tucker Gift

In August 2000, Ledyard R. Tucker, professor of psychology and educational psychology, established the Ledyard R. Tucker Gift. “Tuck” was a major figure in psychometrics and made substantial contributions to the theory and implementation of multiple factor analysis. He became a Center for Advanced Study Professor starting in 1970 until his retirement in 1979.