As an assistant vice president for research services at Texas A&M University, Charlene B. Miller dedicated more than 30 years to elevating academic research through her personal forte -- forging public-private partnerships to encourage scientific and technological innovation benefiting Texas, the nation and the globe.

In the wake of Miller's untimely death last November, one of the world's biggest names in chemical research and development once again is partnering with Texas A&M -- this time to pay tribute to the longtime administrator and her tireless efforts in the name of academic-industrial collaboration.

Proving that the human element surpasses corporate slogan, Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) has established The Dow Chemical Company/Charlene Black Miller '79 Endowed Memorial Fellowship in Chemistry through the Texas A&M Foundation to promote graduate student research and honor Miller's legacy at Texas A&M. Dow's lead gift will be combined with contributions from the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry and the Texas A&M Division of Research and Graduate Studies to create the $100,000 fellowship, which is intended to recognize graduate research excellence and genuine innovation in chemistry.

"For the leadership at Dow to step forward and say, 'We've lost an important collaborator at Texas A&M University, and we should celebrate her memory with a generous gift to the College of Science,' is an amazing testament to the character of Charlene Miller and to the time, commitment and care she devoted to her critical role in strengthening the university's relationships with partners like Dow," said Dr. Jeffrey R. Seemann, vice president for research and graduate studies. "A truly exceptional member of the Aggie community and an outstanding employee and leader, Charlene exemplified the highest values of ethical leadership and dedication to her profession."

Miller, who also worked for the Texas A&M Research Foundation and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station during her 30-plus-year career in research, passed away along with her brother, James Black, and her son-in-law, Gregory Coleman, in a plane crash while visiting family in Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday. Seemann said she was highly regarded among her colleagues and associates for her strong ties to the research community and her passion for facilitating relationships between the university and external partners, from academia to industry.

Dr. Theresa Kotanchek, vice president for sustainable technologies and innovation sourcing at Dow's corporate headquarters in Michigan, met Friday (Feb. 18) with Seemann and other university administrators to finalize paperwork for the fellowship, which will be awarded annually beginning in 2012 in conjunction with Texas A&M's Student Research Week each March. Recipients will be selected by a committee of Texas A&M faculty and staff appointed by the dean of the College of Science.

"Charlene Miller recognized that world challenges are complex problems that require the collective skills and talents of both the public and private sectors to successfully address," said Kotanchek, who was visiting the campus to deliver the keynote presentation for the 19th annual Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) Conference, held Saturday (Feb. 19) at Rudder Tower. "Dow is honored to acknowledge Charlene with the establishment of this fellowship and will continue to advocate for collaborative science opportunities to improve the human condition economically, socially and environmentally."

Dr. Lou Graziano, senior program leader at Dow, corresponded with Miller for about a year and a half to help build a trusted partnership between Texas A&M and his company. During that time, he said he developed a close working relationship with her, largely because he admired her commitment to education. Despite never meeting Miller in person, Graziano said that upon learning of her unexpected death, he felt compelled to suggest to company leaders that she be honored in some way.

"She was wonderful to work with," Graziano added. "Charlene had a great understanding of Dow's dedication to Texas A&M -- that it went beyond the partnership and that it was about students and research. I thought it made sense to honor her for that."

To learn more about research at Texas A&M and corporate partnerships benefiting graduate students, visit http://rgs.tamu.edu.

For more information about memorial scholarships or other giving opportunities through the Texas A&M Foundation, go to http://giving.tamu.edu.


About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is in the vanguard in making significant contributions to the storehouse of knowledge, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represents an annual investment of more than $630 million, which ranks third nationally for universities without a medical school, and underwrites approximately 3,500 sponsored projects. That research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. For more on research at Texas A&M, visit http://rgs.tamu.edu.

About Dow: Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines the power of science and technology with the "Human Element" to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company connects chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help address many of the world's most challenging problems, such as the need for clean water, renewable energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow's diversified industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 160 countries and in high-growth sectors, such as electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture. In 2010 Dow had annual sales of $53.7 billion and employed approximately 50,000 people worldwide. The Company's more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 188 sites in 35 countries across the globe. More information about Dow can be found at www.dow.com.


Contact: Chris Jarvis, (979) 845-7246 or cjarvis@science.tamu.edu

Jarvis Chris

  • Charlene Miller

    Charlene B. Miller, Texas A&M Assistant Vice President for Research Services, died in Nov. 23, 2010, in a plane crash in Florida.

  • Dr. Theresa Kotanchek

    Dr. Theresa Kotanchek, Dow Chemical vice president for sustainable technologies and innovation sourcing, on the Dow Chemical Floor of Texas A&M University's Jack E. Brown Engineering Building.

  • Innovation in Action

    Kotanchek addresses members of the Texas A&M Society of Plastics Engineers during her weekend visit to the Texas A&M University campus.

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