Scholarship fund honors ‘Capt. Max’

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

By Bill Dabney

University of Mississippi

Family and friends of the late Max R. Miller Jr., of Oxford, are seeking support for a scholarship fund that will honor the life of the longtime University of Mississippi administrator.

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Before his death on April 22, 2016, while traveling to meet Ole Miss engineering students on a field trip, Miller had served the university for two decades, most recently as associate director of projects for the Center for Manufacturing Excellence. He had previously served as associate director of admissions and on staff in the Office of Financial Aid and Office of the Registrar.

“Through his multiple roles within the university, my father had the pleasure and privilege of working with many students in their pursuit of a quality education and finding a fulfilling career,” said Ryan Miller, CME programs manager and assistant director. “He was able to provide wonderful insight, encouragement and wisdom that helped so many students and their families in his time here at Ole Miss.”

Ryan Miller; his brother Patrick Miller of Bossier City, Louisiana; Scott Kilpatrick, CME associate director for internal operations; and Jason McCormick, a UM development officer who previously worked with Max Miller in the Office of Admissions, are raising funds to provide financial assistance to eligible Ole Miss students in any field of study. Gifts of different sizes can be made through the university’s crowdfunding site, Ignite Ole Miss, at

“The loss of our father, while devastating, has only solidified our belief that we have been called to find ways to perpetuate his acts of service for generations to come,” Patrick Miller said.

The project owners hope to raise at least $25,000, enough to establish an endowment in Max Miller’s name, memorializing him among generations of future Ole Miss students.

Honoring ‘Capt. Max’

A native of Bakersfield, California, Max Miller chose to pursue a career of service by attending the California Maritime Academy. After college, he served as a fire fighter in the Kern County Fire Department before beginning a 25-year career with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Miller married Janis Shanahan in 1971 and, after a number of cross-country moves with the military, established a permanent residence in Oxford, where Ole Miss students affectionately dubbed him “Captain Max.”

“Through the generous contributions of all those who knew my father, I am confident that we will be able to continue to impact students’ lives in meaningful ways and continue the work of a great man, a proud Rebel: our Captain Max,” Ryan Miller said.

Kilpatrick said there is perhaps no better way to honor a man whose life was dedicated to student development and success.

“Max Miller’s love for his country was matched by his love for his beloved Ole Miss,” Kilpatrick said. “He believed his role within the university family was to do something positive for someone else every day and to do so with tact, compassion and, often, anonymity.

“He gave so that others might have the chance to pursue their life’s goal of receiving an education at one of the finest academic institutions in the country.”