Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Olin College was founded on the audacious idea that engineering education needs a complete reinvention. 16 years after opening its doors, Olin was listed among the top 2 engineering schools in the world by the 2018 MIT Benchmark Study.

Arriving in 1999 as the College’s President and its first employee, Miller joined Olin before it was a ”place“—there was no land or campus yet. He was responsible for assembling a leadership team, overseeing design and development of new campus facilities, recruiting faculty and students, developing financial and operational principles, and establishing public visibility and identity. But from inception, Olin College was built for a unique purpose: ”to become an important and constant contributor to the advancement of engineering education in America and throughout the world.“ This required challenging basic assumptions, like tenure and academic departments, and accepting the notion that, at least in principle, everything has an expiration date—even the curriculum. The extraordinary team of academic innovators who joined the College developed an entirely new paradigm for engineering education. This was the result of a powerful culture of collaboration across boundaries and continuous experimentation, grounded in intrinsic motivation and Design Thinking. The result is that Olin College prepares students to become exemplary engineering innovators who recognize needs, design solutions and engage in creative enterprises for the good of the world.

Olin has attracted an exceptional faculty and staff and has become, in effect, a privately funded laboratory for engineering education redesign.  It has engaged with 800+ academic institutions from 50+ nations in the last decade, and was identified among the top 2 engineering schools in the world in a 2018 global benchmark study published by MIT.
Miller served as President and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Olin until June 30, 2020, when he stepped down to devote more time to the pursuit of educational innovation more broadly. In recognition of his many contributions and long service, the College held a celebration in his honor, and the Board of Trustees renamed the largest building on campus after him: the Richard K. Miller Academic Center.