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A late Lehigh Carbon Community College professor and pioneer in the school’s technology department has left a $1 million gift behind to provide scholarships for students studying technology.
Clifford F. Miller of South Whitehall Township was one of the initial professors hired to teach mechanical technology at the North Whitehall college in 1968. He retired in May 1987 and was named professor emeritus in 1999 before dying in April 2020 at age 94.
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In recognition of his $1 million donation in scholarship funding, the college plans to rename the Student Services Center at the Schnecksville campus as the “Clifford Miller Student Services Center” sometime in 2021.
Professor James DePietro, who replaced Miller’s position after he retired, described the late educator as one of the first faculty members to devote time and dedication in the technology department. It was a time when the community college’s humble beginnings included being housed at the Lehigh County courthouse.
“He was such an innovator and had a tremendous passion for teaching students,” DePietro recalled.
DePietro also remembered how Miller’s passion for motor vehicles could transform a classroom discussion into “car talk.” He also was one of the first instructors in the Lehigh Valley to introduce computer-aided design and drafting (CAD) into the classroom, as he partnered in a pilot program with Lehigh University’s School of Engineering, DePietro said.
After serving in the U.S. Army in World War II, Miller became a draftsman and designer for Textile Machine Works in Reading, Berks County. He went on to teach mechanical drafting at William Allen High School in Allentown for a decade before earning his master’s degree in education at Temple University and joining the community college’s faculty. He was a native of Reading, attending Reading High School and the Wyomissing Polytechnical Institute.
Ann D. Bieber, president of LCCC, said the $1 million scholarship funding is a gift left behind for the students and community Miller was immensely dedicated to — even after his retirement.
“He understood the benefits of higher education and especially community colleges,” Bieber said. “He valued that students in his classes were likely to remain locally for work and were a positive impact on the economic development of our region.”
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Miller also was very involved in his community, according to his obituary.
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He was a member of St. John’s Lodge No. 435 Free and Accepted Masons in Reading for more than five decades, as well as a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Allentown and the the former St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Allentown. He was a life member of the LC/Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees organization. He enjoyed gardening, playing bridge, and traveling worldwide, according to the obituary.
Both part-time and full-time Lehigh Carbon Community College students will be eligible for the scholarships, with preference to students studying in technology fields.
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Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may be reached at [email protected]