To many at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Haas, former dean and professor Raymond Miles will rightly be remembered as an outstanding scholar and visionary leader. He spent more than 50 years serving the university but was also committed to the community around it and finding ways the two could benefit each other. In 1989, he started the Boost@BerkeleyHaas program—formerly known as the East Bay Outreach Program and then Young Entrepreneurs at Haas (YEAH)—to bring under-resourced and under-represented local high school students to Haas to learn about business and entrepreneurship while experiencing the college campus.
For Miles, who was raised during the Great Depression and spent part of his childhood on a farm near his hometown of Cleburne, Texas, going to college wasn’t considered a viable option to him and most of his peers. In fact, despite being a top high school student, he was on his way to begin a career working for the railroad when he stopped to visit an acquaintance at the University of North Texas. There, he decided to find a way to become a student himself. When he returned home, the family sold a calf to pay his initial tuition, allowing him to become the first person in his family to attend college. A full-time college student, he paid for his BA in journalism by working nights for the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railroad. He then chose to serve a stint as a pilot in the US Air Force to fund his M.A. and ultimately a PhD, in Business. He loved learning and found novel ways to access and claim his space in the university classroom.
Simply being exposed to a college campus changed the trajectory of Miles’ life. He was eternally thrilled that Boost has continued to influence local students’ lives by exposing them not only to the college campus and support resources but to the life of the mind in the service of community.
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