Honoring a Biomedical Entrepreneur

Biomedical engineering headship to be named for orthopedics pioneer Dr. Dane A. Miller.

A gift from Mary Louise Miller, wife of the late engineer and entrepreneur Dr. Dane Miller, will name the headship of Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering as part of Ever True: The Campaign for Purdue University.

As co-founder and later CEO of Biomet Inc. (now Zimmer Biomet), an orthopedic devices manufacturer in Warsaw, Indiana, Miller helped lead the company from its creation in 1977 in a converted barn to a $2 billion global enterprise employing more than 4,000, many of them Purdue graduates in key positions. Under his guidance, Biomet became known for innovation in orthopedic implants, including joint-replacement systems.

“Dane Miller was one of the greatest engineers and job creators our nation has known. And one of the great human beings — unpretentious, unaffected, kind to all around him,” President Mitch Daniels says. “Purdue is honored to be associated with his name and memory.”

At Biomet, Miller spearheaded advances in biomaterials and implant design — two focus areas of the Weldon School since its founding in 1998. For nearly two decades, Biomet and the Weldon School partnered on design projects and undergraduate internship programs that sharpened the Purdue biomedical engineering program’s responsiveness to industry needs.

“We are a school, and Biomet is a company, but we both are very team-oriented and primed to solve problems. I think that led to our early connection and interaction, in a partnership that was extremely productive,” says George Wodicka, head of the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering.

Collaborations with corporate and clinical partners spur innovation and enable Weldon students and faculty to incorporate ideas rapidly into patient care.

Dane’s support helped make biomedical engineering at Purdue an industry-ready program, which is one of our strengths.

Professor and Dane A. Miller Head of Biomedical Engineering

“There was a natural resonance between Biomet and our educational and research programs,” Wodicka says. “Dane’s support helped make biomedical engineering at Purdue an industry-ready program, which is one of our strengths. For this world-renowned leader in orthopedics, and friend of Purdue, to be forever associated with the Weldon School through this named headship is a tremendous honor for us.”

Focusing on three overarching priorities — “Place Students First,” “Build on Our Strengths,” and “Champion Research and Innovation” — Purdue’s Ever True campaign was announced in 2015, with a goal of $2.019 billion raised by 2019, the 150th anniversary year of Purdue’s founding and the 50th anniversary year of alumnus Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon.

“I’m delighted to commemorate Dane through this gift to the campaign,” Mary Louise Miller says. “To help empower the Weldon School and enable the future’s advances in biomedical engineering is a very fitting tribute to his memory.”

“Dane was a quintessential listener,” Wodicka remembers. “Not only was he very successful in helping Indiana and the world, he was very giving of his time with students. We all deeply respected and greatly admired Dane.”

The Weldon School is a leading biomedical engineering enterprise with recognized education and translational research programs in medical devices, therapeutics and diagnostic systems. The school fosters strong academic, industrial and clinical experiential learning and technology development. Through rapid expansion, the school is solving an expanded set of health care problems and improving the lives of patients worldwide.

To support initiatives in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, contact Brian Knoy, director of development, at 765-494-6241Call 765-494-6241 or BJKnoy@prf.org.