William Miller III '50 talks SAE, Friendship, and Uranium

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Brother William S. Miller III ’50 has had quite the journey through life both during and after his time in SAE.

Miller, now 88, chose to join SAE many years ago because his friend that he grew up with, Harold Pickel Jr. ’43, had invited him to pledge. It also helped that Betty Miller, a sister from Chi Omega, whom Miller knew, said it was the best fraternity on campus. After one year at Penn State, Bill went into the army, but came back to finish in 1950. After he graduated, he went to work with his father who was a general contractor. He went back into the army for a short time, before his father retired in 1968, and he took the business over in place of his father.

After all these years, did Bill think that SAE had an influence on him? “I think it had some bearing on it, yes. I met some really good, fine fellas there. Four or five of ‘em became my best friends for a long time. Unfortunately, they’re all gone now…but this’ll happen when you’re 88.” Those best friends were Fred Daggett Jr. ’49 and Daniel Kline. They did a lot together, hunted, fished, and had a good time. They remain the best times that he had with anyone at the fraternity. But, perhaps the person that has made the largest impact is his wife, who he claims as his success. His wife is from his hometown, had gone to Gettysburg College and to Los Alamos Laboratories to test uranium. Upon return, they started seeing each other. “The game was up for me!” Bill said with a laugh. A sorority sister at Gettysburg, they both had Greek life under their belt.

On one occasion, while visiting the Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories in Canada, they stumbled upon the Eldorado Mine, where uranium had been mined for the use of nuclear weapons in World War II. Funny enough, that same uranium would be the uranium taken to Port Uranium and shipped down to Los Alamos Laboratories for Bill’s wife to test. The last remark he made was advice for the undergraduate brothers: “Don’t go to Oklahoma. Fraternities are not in a big favor like they used to be when I was in school. I hear this from students there all the time. Represent the positive spotlight and you can’t go wrong.”

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