UNT mourns the death of Assistant Human Resources V.P. Steve Miller

Steve Miller
Assistant Vice President, Human Resources
Wednesday, January 12, 2005

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Today, as the University of North Texas community mourns the passing of Stephen C. "Steve" Miller, assistant vice president for human resources, it remembers his 33 years of outstanding accomplishments and leadership in working with the largest workforce in Denton.

Miller, 56, died early this morning (Jan. 12, 2005) after a brief battle with cancer.

As the son of a U.S. military officer, Miller spent his youth moving to wherever in the nation -- or around the world -- the Air Force needed his father. However, after graduating from high school in Burkburnett, Tex. and moving to Denton, Miller ended his travels and put down roots.

All of his 37 years as a Denton resident are tied to UNT. He enrolled in September of 1967, graduated with a bachelor of business administration degree in finance in December of 1971, and joined the university staff in January of 1972.

Miller worked his way up in the university personnel office and became director of the department in 1991. Three years later the name of his department was changed to University Human Resources. In 2001, the Board of Regents approved his promotion to assistant vice president for human resources.

Miller was certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) in 2001.

Among his accomplishments at UNT, Miller held a leadership role in the development of three generations of automated human resources systems. During his tenure, the Human Resources Department implemented an employee assistance program; initiated the Soaring Eagle Club (to recognize outstanding service to UNT); developed the Service Leadership Program for administrators; and promoted and fostered high-quality service and diversity through the university's Service Advantage and diversity programs.

He was known for always attributing the success of his department's accomplishments to the staff members in human resources and their ability and willingness to work together.

In addition to the many activities he was involved with in the Denton and greater North Texas communities, Miller was an alumnus of Leadership Denton and a former officer in the North Texas Chapter of the College and University Personnel Association. He was also a member of the statewide Texas Higher Education Human Resources Association and had served as president in 1994.

"Through Steve Miller's leadership, our university developed one of the finest Human Resources departments to be found anywhere," said Richard Rafes, senior vice president for administration, who worked with Miller for 24 years.

Reflecting on his 24 years of knowing and working with Miller, Rafes said, "To the end of his life, Steve loved UNT and was honored to be part of the Human Resources Department. He was a great family man who always treated his staff as members of his family. He was a great friend and everyone who knew him will miss him."

"Steve was an ethical and kind individual," Rafes said. "His first concerns whenever we discussed important issues were always to make sure that we were being fair and doing the right thing."

Miller is survived by his wife, Nita (his high school sweetheart), and a daughter, Mindi Keese --a UNT graduate, and two sons, Travis -- a UNT graduate -- and Cody -- who also attended UNT.

Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. on Jan. 15 (Saturday) at the Denton Bible Church (1910 E. University Drive).

Visitation will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14 (Friday) at DeBerry Funeral Directors (2025 W. University Drive).

UNT will have a special on-campus memorial service for Miller. The service will be at 10 a.m. on Jan. 21 (Friday) at Winspear Hall in the Murchison Performing Arts Center. A reception will follow in the Gateway Center Ballroom.

The Miller family has requested that memorials be made in the form of donations to the Steve Miller Human Resources Scholarship at UNT that will be awarded annually to a Human Resources employee pursuing an undergraduate or graduate education at the university.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108