Lynn Miller, 85, Beloved Colleague, Mentor, and Friend

Lynn Miller, a professor emeritus of biology at Hampshire College, whose interests were genetics (human and microbial), molecular biology, and evolution, died Friday, August 10, in Amherst, Mass. He was 85.

His wife, Jean D. Miller, said the cause was pneumonia.

Dr. Miller was a founding faculty member of Hampshire College, where he helped establish the School of Natural Science. He was a devoted teacher who created methods to awaken the curiosity of students. Realizing that students would not learn well unless already interested in solving a problem, instead of forcing them into a pre-designed project, he encouraged them to create projects based upon their own questions. He observed that the process of asking questions leads to perseverance in student learning, so that students eventually teach themselves how to learn; the idea is to transform students from being information consumers into information producers and problem solvers. In this manner Miller nurtured the development of generations of scientists and independent thinkers of all disciplines.

Lynn Miller was born Nov. 6, 1932, in McCook, Nebraska, as the youngest of five children of Dale Miller and Edythe Alice Rupp Miller Oveson. He is survived by his brother Dale and sister Shirley.

The biological descendants of Lynn and Jean Miller are sons Ivor Lynn Miller of Cambridge, MA., Craig Douglas Miller of Shelburne, MA., and grandson Benjamin Douglas Miller of Brooklyn, NY; their foster children are Benissa Beyrouthy Haykal of Beirut, Lebanon, Thy Som-Oeur of Lowell, MA., Boreth Sun of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and foster grandchildren Sotherak (Rocky) Sun, Marina Sun, Lucas Vischea Som-Oeur, Ledan Soeun Som-Oeur, and Robin Vuthea Som-Oeur of Lowell, MA.

Contributions to the Lynn Miller Scholarship Fund at Hampshire College will be met with matching funds. Contributions can also be made in Lynn Miller’s name to Save the Children International.