Retiring chair William Miller, right, accepts a plaque from Delaware Sea Grant Director Nancy Targett and current chair Gerard Esposito.

Three decades, many memories

Sea Grant Advisory Council chair honored for more than three decades of service

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10:20 a.m., May 16, 2011--The Delaware Sea Grant Advisory Council attended to one very special agenda item at its biannual meeting Thursday, May 12. The statewide external advisory body to the Delaware Sea Grant College Program honored William Miller, the group’s chair emeritus who recently retired after more than three decades of service.

Miller, who turned 94 in February, served under four University of Delaware presidents. During the ceremony held at the Sheraton Dover Hotel, Delaware Sea Grant Director Nancy Targett presented Miller with a plaque that recounted highlights from his involvement with UD and Delaware Sea Grant in images.

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“Bill is a person who is intensely curious and who continues to be very interested in all aspects of life. He is a connector — someone who sees opportunities and connections in everything around him,” said Targett, also dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.

Miller spent his career working on transportation issues for the state, including overseeing the Delaware Memorial Bridge and the Cape May–Lewes Ferry. He was founding director of the Delaware River and Bay Authority for eight years. Prior to that he worked for the Delaware Department of Transportation. Over a 28-year career he rose from traffic and planning engineer to director of operations in what was then the State Highway Department.

After accepting a tribute from the Delaware Senate presented by fellow council member State Sen. F. Gary Simpson, Miller stood to express thanks. He reflected on his time in high school in Wilmington, where he was born and raised. He remembered taking night classes at Drexel University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

Miller noted that in addition to his three decades with Delaware Sea Grant, he spent that same amount of time on the boards of the Mid-Atlantic AAA and the Blood Bank of Delmarva. He also served in the Army for 28 years, including four years of active duty during World War II and 24 years in the Reserve. 

“They’re all numbers,” he said, “but they certainly tell a story.”

Stepping into the role of Sea Grant Advisory Council chair is longtime member Gerard Esposito, president of Tidewater Utilities Inc. Having worked for Tidewater for approximately 13 years, Esposito previously spent 20 years with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

Article by Elizabeth Boyle

Photos by Lisa Tossey

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