Millett, John D. (John David), 1912-1993

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Epithet: Lieutenant; RN

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000474.0x000156

John D. Millett was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on March 14, 1912. He attended DePauw University, graduating with honors in June 1933. Millett married a fellow DePauw student, Catherine Letsinger, on September 2, 1934. That same year, he began graduate study in political science at Columbia University, and the following year, received his A.M. degree in political science. During the summer of 1936 he served on the staff of the President's Committee on Administrative Management in Washington, D.C. In September 1937, Millett became a full-time instructor in the School of General Studies at Columbia, and received his Ph.D. degree in January 1938. Millett spent 1938 and 1939 in London on a postdoctoral fellowship of the Social Science Research Council, returning to the United States shortly before the outbreak of World War II.

Appointed a full-time instructor at Columbia College 1939, Millett resigned the following year to become assistant secretary of the Committee on Public Administration of the Social Science Research Council. In April 1941, Millett left the Council to join the staff of the National Resources Planning Board in Washington as full-time assistant to Luther H. Gulick. In 1942 Gulick and Millett were drawn into war planning, and this effort eventually led to Millett's commissioning as a major in the U.S. Army and assignment to the Office of the Commanding General, Services of Supply (renamed the Army Service Forces in 1943). During the war years Millett prepared various reports and Congressional testimony for Commanding General Brehon B. Somervell, managed the General's staff conferences, and participated in various administrative management studies for the ASF. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in autumn 1943 and to colonel in late 1945. At the end of 1945, Somervell decorated Millett with the Legion of Merit for meritorious wartime service. Millett later wrote a book about the Army Service Forces, and contributed the Somervell biographical sketch in the Encyclopedia Britannica. In July 1945, Millett was appointed Associate Professor of Public Administration at Columbia University. In 1947, he was recalled to active military duty and served on a special mission to prepare a study of the German experience in mobilization of industrial resources during World War II. In 1948, Millett was promoted to full professor at Columbia, and during 1948 and 1949, he served as assistant to the executive director of the first Hoover Commission (Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, 1947-1949). From 1949 to 1952, Millett was also executive director of the Commission on Financing Higher Education; a study group sponsored the Association of American Universities. In 1952 and 1953, Millett was part-time director of the Cleveland Commission on Higher Education, preparing a study of the educational resources of the metropolitan area and evaluating the need for a public community college in Cleveland. In March 1953 Millett accepted an invitation to become President of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, a post he held for eleven years. As President, he undertook a major overhaul of the University's administrative structure and initiated major long-range planning and construction programs to prepare Miami for the future influx of the Baby Boom generation. He also participated in three planning studies of higher education needs in Ohio, served for four weeks as a consultant to the University of the Philippines, was a consultant on two occasions to the Ford Foundation, became a trustee of both Educational Testing Service and the College Board, served as president of the American Society for Public Administration, was president of the State Universities Association and secretary-treasurer of the National Association of State Universities, and was a consultant to the Office of Education in Washington to establish the administrative machinery to implement the Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963. For many years he was a member of the R.O.T.C. Advisory Committee for the Department of Defense. By 1964, Millett was recognized as one of the nations leading University presidents and authorities on higher education administration. In March 1964, he was selected to be the first Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents. In addition to his duties as Chancellor, he was active in the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, serving as its president. He served a second term as a trustee of Educational Testing Service, and as first chairman of the newly created National Academy of Public Administration. He was also a trustee of the Institute for American Universities in Aix-en-Provence. Millett retired in March 1972 and was named Chancellor Emeritus of the Ohio Board of Regents. At the same time he was invited by Dr. Alvin C. Eurich to join the Academy for Educational Development as a vice-president, and he continued involvement in projects connected with higher education. In 1980 Millett and his wife returned to Oxford. He died in November 1993.

Miami University Archives

John David Millett Collection

From the guide to the John David Millett Collection, 1897-1958, 1953-1964, (Miami University)

Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) corporateBody
associatedWith United States. President's Committee on Administrative Management. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Education, Higher--Ohio
Dye, Jean E


Birth 1912-03-14

Death 1993-11-14



Ark ID: w603220f

SNAC ID: 42819509