In 1976, Bob Miller received his master’s degree in history and debated the next steps in his future. But a U.S. economy still reeling from a devastating oil crisis offered him few teaching opportunities, so he returned to his hometown of Morgan City, LA, which had become a hub for the oil industry. Bob entered the oil business and eventually opened his own company, Major Equipment & Remediation Services, Inc. For the next 30 years, the company thrived and grew to become a major provider of services and technology to oil companies in the Gulf Coast region.
But true to his liberal arts values and education, Bob has steadfastly led the company with a high quality of customer service and expertise, placing the environment and health and safety of employees above all else. In addition, he has served on several local and regional professional and community boards, including the American Petroleum Institute, St. Mary Industrial Group and Chamber of Commerce, Nicholls State University, which awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Commerce Degree; and the Atchafalaya River Coalition.
Recently, Bob was recognized for his achievements with the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the College. He described his time at Penn State as the most profound experience of his life. As a graduate student in the history department, he acquired the communications and leadership skills and the professional confidence necessary to become a business entrepreneur. “This award is a testament to the great people working at this University – the great teachers!” Bob recalled.
One such inspiring mentor was history professor Isabel Knight, who suggested to Bob that his strengths were not in an academic career. This candid advice confirmed to Bob that a business career was in his future. He honored Dr. Knight by establishing a graduate enrichment fund and a graduate fellowship in her name to provide much-needed support for history graduate students. He also created the R.E. “Bob” Miller Centennial Graduate Endowment in Honor of Dean Susan Welch to assist the College in recruiting and retaining the best graduate students.