Upper Arlington News

Mary Egerton Miller named to Wall of Honor


A community activist who fought hunger among the poor and helped women gain the right to vote and advance their careers has been selected for the Upper Arlington Wall of Honor.

Throughout her 99 years, Mary Egerton Miller (1909-2009), dedicated her life to helping others.

Many times, her activism sought to bring equality to women, as evidenced by her work to establish and chair former Ohio Gov. John Gilligan's Ohio Coalition for the Implementation of the Equal Rights Amendment and her role in founding the Metropolitan Woman's Center for Central Ohio Women.

But as director of the YMCA Hilltop Center, she also founded a hunger task force, and she served on numerous organizational boards to strengthen families, bolster public education and combat problems threatening the health of babies.

Miller's commitment to improving lives in central Ohio and beyond led to her selection for induction to the UA Wall of Honor, which seeks to honor past residents of the city for significant contributions to society.

The Upper Historical Society and city of Upper Arlington announced Miller's selection Feb. 6.

She will be recognized during a ceremony May 18, where her bronze plaque will be unveiled for permanent display on the Wall of Honor, located on the plaza in front of the Upper Arlington Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road.

"Ms. Miller was an enduring champion of women's rights, as well as a selfless volunteer and community activist," said Emma Speight, Upper Arlington community affairs director and a member of the Wall of Honor committee that selected Miller for induction. "Her leadership helped to make Ohio the 33rd state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

"After the ERA was ratified in 1974, Ms. Miller wanted to ensure that Ohio's laws came into compliance and so she formed and chaired Gov. Gilligan's Ohio Coalition for the Implementation of the ERA."

Speight said Miller was selected from a pool of five nominees.

To be considered, a person must be deceased and must have lived in Upper Arlington for part of his or her life. Inductees also are selected based on significant contributions to the city, the state and/or the nation.

Miller will be the 34th member of the Wall of Honor, and the fifth woman to be inducted.

In addition to her work to implement the ERA in Ohio, Speight said Miller continued to lead women's causes from 1974 to 1979 by working to increase the number of females in state government policy-making positions.

"She did this, in part, by helping women translate their volunteer skills into job qualifications," Speight said.

According to information provided by the city, Miller chaired the Ohio International Women's Year Conference in 1977. She later chaired the committee that founded the Metropolitan Center for Central Ohio Women, now known as the New Directions Career Center, an organization committed to helping women network and advance their careers.

Other volunteer roles included: board of trustees for Family Counseling and Crittenton Services (1973-81); Advisory Council, Volunteer Services Management System for Columbus Public Schools (1975-76); advisory board for University without Walls (1976-79); advisory board for Volunteers of America (1979-90); Task Force on Volunteers for the Junior League (1980), board of trustees for the League Against Child Abuse (1980-83); YMCA board of directors (1981-1990) and the board of directors for March of Dimes (1982-1990).

"Ms. Miller was a graduate of the Ohio State University, as well as a member of Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity, of which she later became district president, as well as president of the Columbus Alumnae Chapter," Speight said. "She resided in Upper Arlington for over 45 years."