Stanford Graduate School of Business
The Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management, Emeritus

Research Statement

Professor William F. Miller carried out research on atomic and nuclear physics, computer graphic systems and languages, computer systems architecture, and the computer industry. His research interests were industrial development with special interest in local and regional industrial development, the evolution of regions of innovation and entrepreneurship, the “habitat” for entrepreneurship, and the globalization of R&D. His international industrial development studies have focused on Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, and Malaysia.


William F. Miller was The Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management Emeritus; Professor of Computer Science Emeritus; President Emeritus, SRI International; Chairman Emeritus, Borland Software Corporation; and Chairman/Founder of Nanostellar, Inc.

Miller spent about half of his professional life in business and about half in academia. He was the last faculty member recruited to Stanford University by the legendary Frederick Terman who was then Vice President and Provost of Stanford. Miller, himself, later became Vice President and Provost of Stanford. He conducted research and directed many graduate students in Computer Science. Miller was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Chicago and a Visiting Professor at Purdue University.

In 1968 Miller played a role in the founding of the first Mayfield Fund (venture capital) as a special limited partner and advisor to the general partners.

As President and CEO of SRI International (1979-1990) Miller opened SRI to the Pacific Region, he established the spin-out and commercialization program at SRI, and established the Sarnoff Corporation as a for-profit subsidiary of SRI. He became the Chairman and CEO.

In 1982, Miller was appointed to the National Science Board. He has served on the board of directors of several major companies such as Signetics, Firemans Fund Insurance, First Interstate Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Varian Associates, WhoWhere? Inc. (Chairman), and Borland Software Corp. (Chairman).

He cofounded SmartValley, Inc. and aided the formation of CommerceNet and serves on the board of directors. Miller was a founding director and Vice Chairman of the Center for Excellence in Non-profits. He is a Founder and Chairman of Nanostellar, Inc, and a Founder and Chairman of Luminette, Inc.

Miller was a Life Member of the National Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Life Fellow of IEEE, a Member of the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame, and a Member of the Jr. Achievement Business Hall of Fame. He received the Okawa Prize in 2000 and the Dongbaeg Medal from the Republic of Korea in 2000. He is an Honorary Professor at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. He received the David Packard Civic Entrepreneur Award in 2008. In 2009 Konkuk University in Seoul Korea opened the William F. Miller School of Management of Technology. Miller became Honorary Dean.

Professor Miller holds the following degrees from Purdue University: BS (Physics), 1949; MS (Physics), 1951; PhD (Physics), 1956; and a DSc Honorary, 1972.

Academic Degrees

  • DSc (Hon.), Purdue University, 1972
  • PhD in Physics, Purdue University, 1956
  • MS Physics, Purdue University, 1951
  • BS in Physics, Purdue University, 1949

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1965, Emeritus since 1997
  • Vice President and Provost, Stanford University, 1971-1978

Professional Experience

  • CEO, David Sarnoff Research Center, Inc., 1987-1990
  • CEO, SRI Development Company Inc., 1982-1990
  • President and CEO, SRI International, 1979-1990
  • Director, Applied Mathematics Division, Argonne National Laboratory, 1956-1964

Awards and Honors

  • David Packard Civic Entrepreneur Award, Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network and the Packard Foundation, 2008
  • Okawa Medal and Prize, The Okawa Foundation, 2000
  • Dongbaeg Medal, Republic of Korea, 2000

In the Media

The Impact of Innovation

Stanford News, November 25, 2012

Study shows Stanford alumni create nearly $3 trillion in economic impact each year.

The Voice of Experience

Fast Company, May 2001

Creating a High-Tech Habitat

San Jose Mercury News, October 2000

Insights by Stanford Business

writtenWhat Led to Enron, WorldCom and the Like?

October 15, 2003

Increases in executive compensation, jumps in incentives to manage earnings, and shifts in auditing firm structure contributed to governance failures.

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