During his undergraduate years at Babson College, Roger P. Miller ’62, and his close friend and classmate Robert M. Mitchell ’62, are credited with restoring the men’s ice hockey program to varsity status after it had spent multiple seasons in the late 1950s as a club sport.
In the future, he also will be remembered for his willingness to pay his Babson experience forward to benefit future generations of student-athletes.
A lifelong entrepreneur, avid golfer, and devoted Babson alumnus, Miller has decided to support future generations of student-athletes by establishing the Roger P. Miller Endowed Hockey and Golf Fund. With his gift of $1.5 million, the endowment will strengthen those programs through investments in coaching, facilities, and equipment.
“This is a tremendously generous gift that will provide great support for both our hockey and golf programs,” said Pamela P. and Brian M. Barefoot Senior Director of Athletics and Athletic Advancement Michael Lynch. “Sustaining our ability to provide state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for our student-athletes is a top priority. Thank you, Roger!”
A native of Needham, Massachusetts, Miller transferred to Babson from Norwich University. Once he arrived, in addition to engaging with the men’s ice hockey program, he was active in student government, was a first-year advisor, and won the Student Business of the Year Award in 1962.
Since graduating from Babson, Miller has started and owned numerous businesses in Texas and Arizona that have included pool construction companies, restaurants, and women’s apparel stores. He is currently president of B’Gauze, a retail clothing store specializing in lightweight cotton gauze apparel for women, located in Scottsdale, Arizona. He and his wife, Prudence Wilson Miller, have been married for more than 40 years.
“Enabling future Babson students to excel in hockey and golf is very important to me,” Miller said. “I learned so much as a student-athlete, but I also gained so many wonderful memories and good friends, especially with my co-captain, Robert “Mitch” Mitchell.”
With its origins dating back to the late 1940s, men’s ice hockey is one of Babson’s oldest and most successful programs. However, the team’s early history was filled with uncertainty. Established in 1947, the team did not reach varsity status until 1952–1953, when student-coach and future Athletics Hall of Famer Wally Pratt ’55 MBA’56 led Babson to an 8–1 record, although the team was competing primarily against prep schools and college freshman squads.
Following the 1957–1958 campaign when the team went 6–6, the program appears to have been briefly dissolved and was played only at the club level for at least two seasons.
Then, in the 1961–1962 season, senior co-captains Miller and Mitchell worked tirelessly with Dean of Students Paul C. Staake to have the program once again rise to varsity status and compete in the Worcester Hockey League. During that season, they battled such opponents as Holy Cross, Nichols, Fitchburg State, Salem State, and Worcester Junior College.
“Roger Miller’s passion for and dedication to Babson hockey helped create our program, and his involvement from its infancy through today has been a lifelong commitment,” said Jamie Rice ’90, men’s ice hockey coach. “Roger’s gift and vision for Babson hockey will allow all future student-athletes to have the best opportunity to succeed in their athletic careers here and is a game changer for us,” he said.
Babson men’s golf team is also among the longest-running athletics programs at the College. The Beavers joined the Capital Athletic Conference during the summer and currently field an 11-player roster. In the fall of 2018, Babson men’s golf earned the program’s first known national ranking while finishing the month of October with three straight tournament victories.
“Being ranked 22nd among all NCAA® Division III teams was a huge milestone for our golf program,” said Head Coach Jeff Page. “Mr. Miller’s generosity will help continue our momentum as we strive to remain one of the top golf programs in the country. We are extremely grateful for the support.”
In recognition of his gift, Babson will install a plaque in the hockey equipment room that honors Miller and his friend Robert M. Mitchell. Miller’s generous support of Babson also is being recognized with his inclusion in the Circle of Distinction and the Babson Legacy Society.
Left to right: Bobby Hall ’18; Head Coach Jamie Rice ’90; Stevie DeForge ’19; Roger Miller ’62; Matt McMorrow ’18; Josh Casper ’18; Zach Phelps ’18; Joe DePietto ’18; Former Assistant Coach Jon Coleman.
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