David F. Miller cuts the ribbon for the Retail Center
David F. Miller, the namesake of the College's Retail Center, cuts the ceremonial ribbon during the dedication.

Warrington celebrates dedication of Miller Retail Center

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The newly-remodeled David F. Miller Center for Retailing Education & Research was officially dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday afternoon at David Stuzin Hall on the campus of the University of Florida.

Among the luminaries on hand to open the new facility were David F. Miller, former Vice Chairman of jcpenney and for whom the Center is named; Dr. W. Andrew McCollough, UF’s Associate Provost for IT, E-Learning and Distance Education; and Dr. Steven Kirn, Executive Director of the Miller Center.

“This has been in the making for a long time,” said Miller, who made a generous gift to endow the Center for Retailing Education & Research 25 years ago in 1986. “I don’t think any of us recognize the role retail is playing so this is an appropriate time to have this intersection of academia and retail.”

The Miller Center and its various retail-based programs had a banner year in 2010-11 as 220 interns were placed in 47 companies and 187 graduates were placed in entry level retail management and professional careers—more than any other industry area for Warrington graduates. In addition, the Miller Center organized its first international study tour to China, is in its 20th year of holding one of the most popular retail conferences in the nation (Retail Smarter) and produces some of the industry’s top research studies.

“After 25 years, we’re happy to move into our first real, dedicated space.” Kirn said. “This space communicates the energy and dynamics that make up retailing.”

The Miller Center’s new space occupies approximately 2,800 square feet on Stuzin Hall’s first floor. The Center is equipped with state-of-the art audio-visual displays that feature custom feeds of retail and general news, sponsor company profiles and videos, announcements and other exciting content. The Center’s conference room sports SmartBoard technology and video conferencing capability, and the welcome area and student lounge spaces offer opportunities for students to meet, read the latest business and retailing journals, and gather for special events.

The Center’s major objectives are to stimulate student interest in pursuing careers in retailing, prepare students for entry level management positions, provide continuing education opportunities for individuals currently in retailing, improve communications between retailers and academics so that academics are more familiar with problems facing retailers, and so that retailers can take advantage of new perspectives and insights arising in the academic community, and undertake research on retailing issues, opportunities, and problems.