Robert Millikan, PhD

A brilliant and beloved scientist left us too early. Dr. Robert Millikan, Barbara Sorenson Hulka Distinguished Professor of Cancer Epidemiology, died Sunday, October 7. He was 55.

Dr. Robert Millikan

A member of the epidemiology faculty at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center since 1993, Dr. Millikan’s research in cancer epidemiology brought hope for better understanding and treatment of breast cancer, particularly for young African-American women who disproportionately die from the disease.

Data from UNC Lineberger’s Carolina Breast Cancer Study, which Dr. Millikan directed for more than fifteen years, demonstrated that black women under the age of 45 are more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive types of breast cancer than are women of European ancestry. The Phase III NCI program grant, which he led, will result in a better understanding of this significant health disparity by collecting information about more than 5,000 women to explore biological, environmental and epidemiologic reasons for the difference in cancer incidence.

Dr. Millikan was director of the integrative health sciences facility core at the UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility. He held an adjunct professorship in the College of Veterinary medicine at North Carolina State University.

He spent the 2005-2006 academic year at University College Dublin (Ireland) as a Fulbright Scholar. In 2008, the public health school awarded him the Hulka Distinguished Professorship.

Posthumous Honors

Bob Millikan will be awarded the 2013 Alumni Achievement Award, posthumously, on Friday, June 14, 2013 at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Services & Celebrations

The Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Research Center will co-host a celebration of Bob’s life on Thursday, October 25th at 6:30 pm at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at 250 East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, NC. Please enter on the right (west) side of the Planetarium building. For more information contact: Jerry Salak, (919) 843-0661.

The funeral service for Bob Millikan, hosted by Bob’s family, will be at 2:00 on Friday, October, 26, at The Chapel of the Cross, 304 Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC.

We hope you can join us for one or both of these events to remember our good friend, Bob.

Additional information

Condolences can be sent to the family at:
Flavia Millikan
P.O. Box 535
Glen Ellen, CA 95442

If you have any photos of Bob, we’d appreciate it if you would share them with us as soon as possible for the Thursday evening celebration.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project LEAD® (Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Development), where Bob Millikan served for more than 15 years as a faculty member, teaching breast cancer advocates about the science of breast cancer epidemiology and genomics. Donations to Project LEAD® can be made at or by writing to: National Breast Cancer Coalition, Project LEAD® Fund in memory of Bob Millikan, 1101 17th Street NW, Suite 1300, Washington, DC 20036, or by calling 202-973-0571.

The family also suggests memorial gifts to support the Carolina Breast Cancer Study in honor of his pioneering leadership in breast cancer research. Gifts can be made payable to UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, CB #7295, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295

Please direct photos, information and/or questions to Nancy Colvin.

Robert Millikan Tribute Fund

Dr. Robert Millikan’s former students, colleagues and friends have begun a fund in his honor, to be housed within his home department, the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology.

You may contribute to the fund in one of three ways:

  1. Talk personally with one of  the School’s gift advisers by calling 919-966-0219.
  2. Make a gift online with our secure donation form. Enter “Robert Millikan Tribute Fund” in the search field on the right side of the screen.
  3. Mail your check, payable to the Public Health Foundation, to Public Health Foundation, P.O. Box 309, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-0309. Please reference “Robert Millikan Tribute Fund” in the memo line.

Here, we remember his legacy and invite you to do the same.


  1. Barbara Rimer
    Posted October 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Millikan had remarkable breadth in his approach to disease and the health of the public. His encyclopedic knowledge of epidemiology, breast cancer and melanoma were fully matched by his compassion for and understanding of all aspects of health disparities. Bob had great curiosity about people and a gift for listening and going where he saw unmet need, whether it was disentangling the biology and epidemiology of disparities, teaching breast cancer advocates about epidemiology or coaching the UNC men’s crew team. The nation has lost a brilliant, humane public health leader.

  2. Jody Gray
    Posted October 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Bob was one of the kindest men I’ve ever met. His compassion for mankind was endless. I am going to miss him terribly but feel extremely Blessed by knowing him.

  3. Aaron Fleischauer
    Posted October 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Bob was probably the reason I went to Carolina; and it wasn’t just for the opportunity to study cancer epidemiology with him. We rowed together on University Lake many weekend mornings. He was as committed to undergrads on the men’s club rowing team as he was his research and teaching. He was an amazing mentor and I miss him.

  4. Steve Marshall
    Posted October 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Bob taught me the power of intellect and the importance of integrity. This was a huge loss for so many people. I will miss you, Bob.

  5. Ghassan Hamra
    Posted October 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Bob is one of those very rare people who embodied both brilliance and humility, especially towards students. I consider it a privilege to have known Him.

  6. Sarah Knowles
    Posted October 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    When I started the Epi program, I’d certainly heard of Bob Millikan because of my master’s work in breast cancer. His reputation intimidated me, but it could not have been less justified. He was ultimately one of the most accessible and friendliest faculty members, seemingly completely unaware of or unconcerned with his stature in the breast cancer research community. He gladly served on my dissertation committee, even though it wasn’t cancer-related, and he was extremely supportive and helpful. It’s been many years since I graduated and I still think about his lecture about logic and logical fallacies that he gave in Epid 268. This is a terrible loss but his impact will carry on.

  7. Peter Samai
    Posted October 12, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Bob was a brilliant cancer epidemiologist, methodologist, and scientist. Amidst all these qualities, What I will strive to emulate most in my own career is Bob’s passion for his work and the people and communities he truly served through his research, and his kindness and humility has a mentor. I’ll miss you, Bob.

  8. Lacie Scofield
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Bob was a mentor to me while I was getting my degree and afterwards. He helped me get my very first job with the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), a job which I loved and a job that launched my career in women’s health. He worked with NBCC for many years, putting in countless hours, and all of it was pro bono as far as I know. I watched him teach breast cancer survivors and other activists several times a year through NBCC’s Project LEAD. He had a way of explaining complex concepts in lay-terms so that these people, most of whom had no prior scientific training, could understand the epidemiology of breast cancer. The LEAD students adored him and were so inspired by him to go out and advocate for better research and treatments. I was inspired by him too, and I will miss him.

  9. Posted October 13, 2012 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    I met Bob in 1995 when he taught the National Breast Cancer Coalition program Project LEAD. He was a great teacher, patient and serious, but with a light touch. We shared a love of women’s basketball and often chatted during the summer season. He once recognized my contribution to his thinking at an NBCC meeting and I glowed for months. He was kind, generous and caring. He gave so much to the breast cancer community and will be mourned.

  10. Posted October 13, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    A nurse interviewer from the CBCS III study perhaps said it best: “Bob was the IT factor at the NBCC meetings!” We all adored him, looked to him to help us understand the intricacies of breast cancer biology, and were never afraid to ask him questions. He was so benevolent, caring, and selfless. And what a subtle sense of humor! Bob, you were such a gift and we are brokenhearted to lose you. “The splendor of the firmament of time may be eclipsed but is extinguished not…”

  11. Meredith
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I did not know Dr. Millikan well, but met him through my church community when I was an undergraduate studying biochemistry. Whenever I would see him afterwards, he would stop to ask about my studies or offer a word of encouragement. In these brief encounters, he had a way of making me feel important and respected that is still clear several years later. I am so sorry to hear of his passing.

  12. Posted October 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to believe that I’ve known Bob Millikan almost 20 years. It is because of his support of the Breast Cancer Resource Directory of North Carolina that we have been able to print and distribute copies of this resource free of charge to breast cancer survivors, families, medical providers and support organizations since 2001. HIs support in so many ways provided the funds that we would never been able to obtain. Because of this tens of thousands of people impacted by breast cancer have been about to learn more about how to get through the breast cancer experience. Personally, I found him to be one of the most kind and gentle people I have ever met. His loss is a tragedy and heartbreaking. He is and will be greatly missed by me and so many others.

  13. David Savitz
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I was deeply saddened to hear of Bob’s death. He was a great colleague during the many years I was at UNC, as smart as anyone I’ve ever worked with in the field, not just deeply knowledgeable about cancer biology but also epidemiologic methods, a very articulate writer and speaker, and a passionate public health advocate. Not to mention that it was a lot of fun working with him and getting his take on people, ideas, and the world in general, wry and often painfully on target. Deeply tragic for all that to come to an end so early.

  14. Luenda Charles
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Bob was one of my professors and a member of my dissertation committee. He treated everyone with kindness and respect. The news of his death is so tragic, so sad, and a huge loss for all who knew him. I feel honored to have met and worked with this good man.

  15. Liam Gallagher
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    I just heard to sad news today from a colleague. I had the fortune of hosting Bob in Ireland during his stay as a Fulbright Scholar. During this time and since, he made a profound impact on our lives and work. I fondly remember the time my family and I spent with Bob on the West coast of Ireland, climbing up the hill to an iron age fort on Inis Mor. Bob was a gentleman, whom I greatly respected for his scientific intellect, friendly nature and easy-going character. He is a sore loss.

  16. Kim Porter
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Millikan always had kind and supportive words for students in his course — no matter how basic the question or comment was, he always made us feel like we were on the right track and had something to contribute. His fantastic ability to show us how to link epi methods to the subject matter was unique. The untimely passing of such a good-hearted and talented person is a terrible loss.

  17. Sandy Deming Halverson
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Bob was my doctoral advisor and friend. He was the reason I came to Carolina. I remember that within 5 minutes of talking with him that I knew I wanted to be his student. He was an incredible mentor. I am the scientist that I am today because of his training, guidance and support. He had a passion for the science, and an even greater compassion for the people it served. I will remember his dry wit, the times we chatted about the favorite places of our home state of California, and all of our discussions about research. Losing Bob is heartbreaking and I will miss him.

  18. Azadeh Stark
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I have known Bob since 1994. He was a mentor and a friend of mine. His support as a faculty and later as a friend was the strength that pushed me forward. Bob had a gentle heart, a kind and giving soul. I remember his dry sense of humor and wit that was just unique to Bob. His passion for exercise, music and science was remarkable. He was a good and dedicated scientist and above all he was a good person. He will be missed tremendously. May he rest in peace and may his family be given the strength.

  19. Kari North
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I was so sad to hear we had lost Bob! Such an amazing person and mentor! He was the mentor I always went to for help and inspiration- he was always concerned and caring- helping me to move forward in my career- encouraging and smiling each step of the way! I will miss him always. Kari

  20. Philip Kass
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Bob was one of the most humane, kind, and gentle individuals I ever met. I knew Bob from vet school (Class of 19894) at UC Davis; I was working in the ICU one night and he showed up and played the violin. I have admired him from afar as one of the greatest and most successful veterinarians who went on to become an epidemiologist. He selflessly shared teaching materials with me, and we traded emails about classical music (we both loved Dvorak). I had always hoped that one day he would return to his veterinary roots and enrich our vet school at UC Davis. The world has lost one of its greatest people and he will be deeply missed.

  21. Amelia F. Drake
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    There are professional people who never lose an opportunity to boast of their accomplishments. Bob was the opposite. He was humble about his career and its impact. He was beloved for his character, among other great attributes. I am happy to say that he was my friend.

  22. Lisa Bradley
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I became pretty close to Bob while sharing the same suite. He had the biggest heart and we shared so many inside family stories and jokes with each other. He always had something funny to say to me. He was a brilliant man with a unique personality. I was so heartbroken to hear of his death and will truly miss seeing him walk into my suite to say hello. Rest in Peace Bob, you will forever have a special place in my heart. :)

  23. Joanne Lee
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    As the student services manager in Nutrition, I only had the privilege of knowing Dr. Millikan while passing through the hallways at the school. However, he always acknowledge me by my first name and always gave me the BIGGEST SMILE. His smile radiated a gentle-spirit that will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and I hope that you will find comfort and peace as each day passes.

  24. Annah Wyss
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I was very sad to hear of Bob’s passing. He truly was a remarkable researcher, teacher, and mentor. I greatly appreciated his service and guidance in my coursework, on my dissertation committee, and through individual conversations. What I will remember most about Bob was his sincere concern and care for others.

  25. Bradley Layton
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I didn’t know Bob at all other than recognizing him as a member of the faculty, but one day while walking on campus, he stopped me and congratulated me on my recent qualifying exam which he had graded. I was surprised that he would even recognize a student with whom he had never interacted, but I was touched by this small act of kindness.

  26. Miriam Labbok
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    When I was a new faculty here, despite many colleagues and associates from other parts of my life, Bob was the only faculty member in the school who reached out to me to work together. That was an unbelievable kindness. I tried to convey my heartfelt thanks to Bob, but he just brushed it aside. I will miss him terribly.

  27. Lexie White
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Bob was one of the first professors of UNC that I met prior to starting in the program. He made time to meet with me and introduce me to students- with incredible kindness and thoughtfulness that I couldn’t have expected. His class was one of the most thought provoking and brilliant classes I’ve taken here. It is a huge loss to the program and to everyone who knew Bob- I will miss him.

  28. Jessica Tse
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I was deely saddened and devastated to hear of Bob’s passing. I had worked for Bob in the CBCS project for 16 years. We often joked that we were stuck with each other. He was kind, considerate, and wonderful to work for. He was also a friend, someone I could confide in. I will miss him dearly.

  29. Kim Gaetz
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Bob was such inspiring professor- knowledgeable, patient, respectful, and gently guiding us towards a better understanding of epidemiology. He was a great mentor, instrumental in helping me find a dissertation topic that fit my interests and would strengthen my abilities. Most of all, he warmed our hallway with his sincere smile and compassionate interest in our lives. We will all miss you Bob!

  30. Richard Gallagher
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    A friend, a colleague, an inspiration–such a sad loss for us all.

  31. Rosemary McKaig
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Dr. Millikan was a wise and generous human being. I respected his knowledge of epidemiology and his willingness to spend time instructing a few of us who were not his brilliant advisees but were those who doubted ourselves and felt we were in a fog during much of our program. He was a patient teacher, a genuinely caring individual, and he was funny. UNC-CH, the research community, and all of us who shared a moment in time with him will miss him deeply.

  32. Tope Keku
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Bob was a mentor, collaborator and friend. He was someone I could confide in and ask for advice about my career. He was a brilliant man, yet very humble. I admired his humility as well as his ablity to see potential in others. Bob, I will miss your generous spirit. Rest in peace my friend.

  33. Ashley I Naimi
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Truly a loss for the field. Dr Millikan was one of those rare individuals who cared as much about the state of science in general as he did about the state of epidemiology. And he encouraged all students with whom he had any interaction to do the same.

  34. Jenny Lund
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I was so sad to hear about Dr. Millikan’s passing. He was an incredible scientist and teacher, and a kind soul. I truly admired how Dr. Millikan put epidemiology into action – and showed his students how research can have a direct impact in the community. His research, teaching, mentoring, and community work will have lasting effects, but we will all miss him dearly.

  35. Nicholas Taylor
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Bob was more than teacher and mentor to me, he was an inspiration. At some stage or another in the evolution of science, imagination has to drive investigation. Bob personified this sentiment better than anyone I know, and I will miss him tremendously.

  36. Trent Johnson
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I first met Bob at the boathouse when I was coaching the men’s rowing team prior to starting my MPH, and we immediately bonded over our shared alma-mater of UC Davis. As in all things, Bob went above and beyond as faculty adviser to the team helping drive the trailer to races, and even coming on week-long winter training trips. Off the water, he gave coaching advice to our athletes but more importantly helped them find their way academically, to internships, volunteer or research opportunities. Whenever I ran out of answers for an athlete, I always sent them to Bob knowing that he would have exactly the right words of advice.

    Beyond the example he set for us in his professional life of hard-work, humility and a commitment to his fellow man, he also inspired me to follow-through in my dream to pursue an MPH. And though he tried several times to persuade me towards epidemiology over Health Behavior, he was endlessly supportive. Bob was an inspiration for me and so many others both in public health but also in the greater Chapel Hill community. I was fortunate to have known him and will miss him always.

  37. jason LUO
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Bob’s kindness was true. Miss him.

  38. Jane Der
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I first met Bob about 3 years ago when I took his cancer epidemiology methods course. We instantly bonded over both being former UCLA students. After the class was over, I would occasionally bump into him in the hallways near his office. He would always ask me if I’d recently made my way back to Los Angeles and he’d reminisce about some of his experiences there and say something dry and witty. He was a brilliant professor and a wonderful person. He will be sorely missed.

  39. Gregory Ulirsch
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I knew Bob both as a professor and as one who cared about students and their lives! I first had him for a class in 1998 where I not only learned alot but enjoyed the dry wiit with his co-instructor Dr. Poole. Later when my son (Jacob Ulirsch) was and undergraduate at UNC and on the crew team, I knew him as someone who cared about the team and the his role as a mentor to these young men. UNC not only lost a great professor but one who really understood how to help shape and direct the lives of students in a positive way!

  40. Eric Duell
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Bob is the reason I am doing what I do today. He taught me to think as an epidemiologist (and scientist). He had a profound influence on my life, and learning of his death was devastating. I can imagine all of the people he has touched, and reading these tributes is truly heartbreaking. What an amazing intellect and person. What an incredible loss for epidemiology and science. I can imagine he would not believe all of these comments, but they are all true. Thank you, Bob.

  41. Anne Hakenewerth
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Bob was my academic adviser at the beginning of my sojourn through the doctoral program. He was instrumental in helping me get through and find my own way in those first three years, including finding a dissertation topic and advisor. My strongest personal memories of Bob are how very kind he was to students, and how much he loved Ireland and enjoyed the year he spent there.

    Bob — Bail ó Dhia ort. Beidh mé ag chailleann tú.

  42. Sangmi Kim
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t have opportunities to work closely with him more than taking one of his courses. But a few years later when I met him in a meeting, he remembered me and did not forget giving me encouraging words and sharing his wisdom in career and in life. Reading all these comments, it is clear that he will be remembered for his wit, kindness and humble attitudes to everyone who met him.

  43. Posted October 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Bob was one of the most respectful professors I have ever met. Despite his obvious and overwhelming expertise, Bob made every student feel heard and respected. He genuinely engaged their questions with curiosity and open-mindedness; he felt each question held a valuable insight. I am deeply grateful for that and try to live up to that standard with my own students.

  44. Patricia Basta
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    I am overcome by sadness at Bob’s passing. He was a kind and gentle man and I will miss him terribly. He was always available whenever anyone needed him. Bob may your soul rest in peace

  45. Muge Gucsavas-Calikoglu
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Such a great teacher and scientist. The Epi 268 class with him, David Savitz and Andy Olshan was amazing. Meticulous in his lab. He was the true molecular epidemiologist before this became fashionable! What a loss for the EPI community.

  46. Betsy Hilborn
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Bob was a true humanitarian, a brilliant scientist and a valued colleague. The veterinary scientist community is not large and Bob was a preeminent member. I will miss him greatly.

  47. Sarah Radke
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m lucky to have known Bob, not only as an admired and much-loved faculty member in the Epidemiology Department, but also as a neighbor in Carrboro.

    In this profession, he also excelled. He was quiet and unintrusive, but always up for drinking a beer on the deck and chatting about current events. Bob was unfailingly kind to animals and always willing to lend his vet skills. I remember once, when I was looking after a litter of rescue kittens, I called him in a panic saying “Help! One of the kittens is having trouble breathing!” Bob was at our door in what felt like seconds, stethoscope in hand. I will never forget the image of a gentle giant with a tiny kitten balanced in the palm of one hand.

    Bob was also a talented musician (we opened our windows while he practiced so we could hear him play); liked Far Side cartoons; and although he didn’t care for desserts, he had a soft spot for Weaver Street’s cherry pie. He was a terrible cook, but enjoyed good food. He read the entire Harry Potter series from start to finish in less than six weeks. He was a good, kind and generous person. I wish him peace.

  48. Yan Zhong
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    I got to know Bob from taking his genetic epidemiology course. He treated everyone with kindness, integrity and respect. He is a true model in so many aspects of life. He will be dearly missed.

  49. Rachel Holston Cline
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    I had the honor of working in Bob’s lab from 2003-2005 as a brand-new undergraduate at UNC who was interested in biology. Though I came in as an 18-year-old with zero lab experience, I was welcomed immediately as part of the team, in no small part due to Bob’s kind leadership. As undergrads, we were never the “grunt labor”; we were valued members of the team, and Bob pushed us gently forward with new opportunities and responsibilities as our skills and knowledge increased. I still remember the look of pride on his face when I announced in a meeting that I had been accepted for a summer internship at NIH. I’m having a hard time accepting that the world has lost him. Peace and mercy to Bob as well as the family, friends, and colleagues who will dearly miss him.

  50. Claire Lutgendorf McPhee
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Bob was a mentor and influence of mine during my time at UNC as I was thinking about pursuing my career in veterinary medicine. He was enthusiastic about sharing his love for the veterinary profession even though his day to day research was very different. Now as a veterinarian, I still have a strong memory of his encouragement and support, and am saddened that future students will not have the opportunity to learn from him. I am so sorry to hear of his passing, and send my sincerest condolences to his family and the university.

  51. Deborah Cousins
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    I was extremely sad to hear that my former professor and neighbor had passed away. I have known Bob since 1994 and he was always unfailingly kind to everyone he met. I can’t say enough about how kind he was. From these comments, I see that he treated everyone with a great deal of consideration and respect. Most of us do not take the time to really get to know people like Bob routinely did.

    It is an understatement to say that he will be terribly missed by his friends and colleagues at UNC, and his Carrboro neighbors.

  52. Melissa Bondy
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    I was so saddened to hear about Bob’s untimely death. As everyone has said, he was a kind and brilliant epidemiologist. I served on study sections with him and was privledged to know him. I will miss him, and so will the field of epidemiology.

  53. Miquel Porta
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    I was very saddened to hear of Bob’s death. He was an
    outstanding scientist and scholar, deeply committed to science, epidemiology and public health. To Bob’s family and to my colleagues at UNC, warms regards from Barcelona. Miquel Porta, MD, MPH, PhD, Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology, UNC.

  54. Sue Ingles
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    I’m shocked to hear that my grad school friend has died. We wrote our dissertations together, working on a breast cancer study at UCLA. We were sitting in my office when I got the call of my father’s unexpected death. Although I haven’t seen Bob in years, I’m sad to think that he’s no longer with us.

  55. Hilda Razzaghi
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I was so saddened to hear of Bob’s death. Bob was a brilliant scientist, a wonderful mentor, and most of all a role model. I met Bob through taking one of his courses and after the first session, I knew I wanted to work with him. Bob had a way of making his students feel important and cared for. I think I may have been one of his last students that graduated this past May. Bob, you have touched lives of many of your students, including myself. You will be missed deeply!

  56. Bob Goetze
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Working with Bob was a pleasure, I’ll miss our chats. To paraphrase Will L. Thompson, Softly and tenderly Jesus called for Bob to come home.

  57. Patricia Steeg
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I am so saddened by the passing of Bob and offer condolences to his family. I taught Project Lead with Bob for 15 years, him never missing a course and me doing it when I could. His dedication to the process of working with advocates was amazing, as was his generosity of spirit. Most of all, I loved the bear hug I got when we met, and squeezing those fantastic muscled biceps… Bob, thank you for all that you did. You will be remembered.

  58. Elaine McSherry
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I was a PhD student when Bob completed his fulbright scholarship in UCD, Dublin. He was such a kind, and fun-loving man, as well as being a wonderful scientist. What I remember most is how encouraging and enthusiastic he was especially to those of us so early on in our careers. He always made time for everyone. I will always remember him. May He rest in peace.

  59. Diane Marie St. George
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    As a professor, Bob Millikan was patient, kind and thoughtful. I feel saddened to know that his time on earth was so short. However, from the outpouring of messages here, it is clear that we will all remember his time on the earth with fond memories. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

  60. Larry Kupper
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I recall many conversations with Bob about work and about sports. Bob was one of a kind. He always went the extra mile to help people, both professionally and personally. He was a brilliant researcher and a great mentor and teacher. I will miss him, Larry Kupper, Emeritus Alumni Distinguished Professor of Biostatistics

  61. Dietrich Rothenbacher
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    We at the Institute of Epidemiology at Ulm University (Germany) were deeply touched by the news of the much to early loss of Bob. I myself met him the first time in Chapel Hill in 1993 and we had the pleasure to have him three times as faculty at our Annual International Summer School of Epidemiology here in Ulm. He was such a positive role model, a wonderful teacher and scientist. We will miss you.

  62. Cindy Ma Chang
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Bob was not my mentor, but he always had time for students seeking advice. I vividly remember chatting with him at the copy machine one day. He gave me some candid advice for choosing a dissertation topic and career path. To this day, I can trace my many of my career choices back to that brief conservation. You’ve touched so many of us, probably without even realizing it. What a loss of an amazing human being.

  63. Cat Andrews
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Bob, for being our champion for breast cancer research. I believe you are in a meeting with God right now asking if the secrets of what causes breast cancer lie down deep in the alleles of the DNA, hiding, disguised among the SNP’s. Because of your patience and caring, I almost know what this means. Thank you for being the “Researcher Who Dared” and leading this breast cancer advocate in the right direction for almost twenty years. May you always have a “pink sky at night”!

  64. Anne Menkens
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Several years ago, my mother-in-law told me about a UNC researcher she had met in New York City at a conference on breast cancer research. She had had a recurrence of her breast cancer after 25 years, and attended the conference to learn more about current understanding of the disease. There she heard a presentation by Bob Millikan and spoke to him afterwards about his research. His approachability, understanding, and intelligence stood out to her. Years later, when I met Bob through my work at the Lineberger, I told him about this connection. Although she was one of dozens of people he had met at that conference, and I don’t think he remembered her specifically, he took the time to talk with me about her. Later, he asked after her health and I had to tell him she had died of the disease. He was genuinely sympathetic for our loss. Although I hardly knew him, I am sad to have him gone.

  65. Debbie Little
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Bob was the driving force behind The Carolina Breast Cancer Study which I had the pleasure of working with him on since 1997. Bob was a kind considerate man who will be remembered as one who made a difference in both women’s health and the world.

  66. Eric Miller
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Epidemiologists love data and Bob was an amazing teacher of epi. But what I learned most from Bob is that our work isn’t about the data, the methods or the papers. Seeing him with participants from the CBCS and his passion for understanding the disease taught me to always remember the people behind the data and the lives we’re trying to help. You will be missed but always remembered.

  67. Jill Barnholtz-Sloan
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Bob was an incredible person and I hope he is now at peace. My thoughts are with his family and his broad circle of friends. Bob was an amazing friend, mentor, collaborator and scientist. I will miss him greatly.

  68. Joellen Schildkraut
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Bob’s intellect, empathy and compassion for others stand out in my memory. He will be sorely missd. My sincerest condolences to his family.

  69. Kendra Bowen
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Bob Millikan was my boss, my mentor and my academic advisor. He taught me how to critically read a study and to remember each person represented by those statistics. He gave me an opportunity and encouraged me. He gave me several nuggets of wisdom that I frequently share with friends. I am sad that more students will not have the opportunity that I had to learn from him. Yet, I am thankful for my time with Bob and his team. He will be missed.

  70. Melanie Ruszczyk
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I saw Dr. Millikan present his work at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in 2008 when I first started my PhD program. He inspired much of my interest in breast cancer research, and I continue to learn from his work.

  71. Lesley Butler
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Although Bob was the most influential force during my progress toward becoming a cancer epidemiologist, my fondest memories are of our visits after I completed my degree. We both had family in Northern California, so we would arrange to meet over the holidays. We would catch up not only on work news, but also on what was going on in our lives outside of work. It was during these visits that I got to know Bob as lover of classical music, hole in the wall Mexican restaurants, and mountainous hikes that lead to spectacular vistas. I wish that we had made these visits more of a priority in recent years.

  72. Judy Bryan
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    The true essence of humankind is kindness. There are other qualities which come from education or knowledge, but it is essential, if one wishes to be a genuine human being and impart satisfying meaning to one’s existence, to have a good heart.
    Tenzin Gatso (1935)
    Thank you Bob

  73. margo michaels
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I knew Bob through his work at Project LEAD and also as a fellow tarheel. He was warm, funny, wry,committed to making advocate contributions real, and passionate about his work. One funny story I still tell about him: when explaining to advocates the impact of not confusing types of observational studies while on a peer review panel, he used his experience being discredited as a vet. When examining a dog, he mistakenly told the owners what a cute (schnauzer) it was. He also disovered the dog had worms. When he was describing the treatment he recommended the owners snatched the dog and said if you cant tell that our dog isnt a (schnauzer), then you cant be much of a veternarian! Bob will be missed. A lot.

  74. Stephen Gruber
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    The world is a better place thanks to Bob’s important contributions to science and his generous personal relationships with colleagues around the globe. I had the privilege of working with Bob for many years, and admired him as a freidn and colleague. Bob is missed by all.

  75. Laura Linnan
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Bob was one of the very first faculty members I talked with when I was being recruited to join the faculty at Carolina. I was in Health Behavior, not Epidemiology, and yet he was welcoming, engaging and exuded a love for Carolina, his research and his students, that was inspiring. My last conversation with Bob was about a shared love of classical music, and sports. He was comfortable in most any conversation, a humble and amazing person, stellar scientist and caring individual who will be greatly missed.

  76. Ross Oglesbee
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Bob was my neighbor. It always made me feel good to know that he was just next door. A couple of years after Bob moved in, I was outside early one morning and saw several squirrels rushing to the back of Bob’s house. When I looked around the fence that separated our properties, I saw Bob feeding the squirrels peanut butter out of a jar. He continued to do this at least several times a week if not daily. When Bob left for his year in Ireland, apparently the squirrels missed him. Some of them moved into his attic by chewing through his roof. When he returned, he found the damage, which was significant and quite expensive to repair. He laughed about it when he told me but there was no more feeding of the squirrels! Bob and I shared a interest in wildlife and the care of animals. He made me feel wonderful when he told me that I had done a good job with an ill kitten I was fostering. I also loved hearing him play the violin. When the weather was nice, he would open his windows and play, with or without accompaniment and it was so lovely and uplifting. Bob was an exceptional person in so many ways. I will miss him more than I can say.

  77. Posted October 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    In 1994, Bob responded almost immediately to a cold call by the National Breast Cancer Coalition to help create a curriculum for a radical new idea – Project LEAD – a program to teach breast cancer advocates the language and concepts of science, the basics of epidemiology and research design and the politics of advocacy. From the early Project LEAD courses, one of which his mother, Flavia, attended, throughout these 17 years, he stayed with us – teaching, revising that curriculum, mentoring students, being a dear colleague to faculty and NBCC staff. But his value to me since I came in to direct Project LEAD ten years ago has been incalculable…his friendship, intellect and spirit will live on forever.

  78. Sara Collina
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I was anxious and discouraged. I had already called a number of scientists who had quickly dismissed me; my job was to reach out to a list of scientists who may or may not have heard of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, and ask them to come to a meeting scheduled only a few weeks away, no compensation, no honorarium… and then devote an additional four days to training breast cancer advocates later in the year. One scientists laughed condescendingly, “You are calling me in January about a meeting in March? You’re about a year too late.” Many said it was a sweet idea but they were too busy. Then I called Bob.

    You can imagine how Bob’s deep and sincere kindness and his enthusiastic respect for patient advocacy was a breath of fresh air that I knew, even on that day, I would never forget. My God, I thought, I’m so glad that this man is in the world. He helped shape the exciting and extraordinary early years of Project LEAD (NBCC’s science and advocacy course) that has gone on to inspire so many advocates. He was so much fun, so insightful and such an awesome teacher. My respect and fondness for him only increased over the years. From the first moment I spoke to Bob, I felt so grateful he was in this world. My only consolation is the knowledge that he truly did spread his kindness, and that kindness remains with us. Bob, I carry a bit of your kindness with me wherever I go, in your honor.

  79. Jim Pankow
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Bob was one of the people who took me under his wing when I arrived in Chapel Hill as a new assistant professor. He quickly became a role model – gracious with his time, respectful of students, a man of integrity. And he was such a strong scholar: I always felt like I was learning as much as the students whenever he came to do a guest lecture in my class. My condolences to his family and the UNC community.

  80. Sam Wheeler
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Bob helped keep the Crew together over a number of up and down years. His work and leadership was instrumental in establishing a solid program from ’93 onward. We’ll do our best to keep his legacy alive. Peace to Bob and much thanks that he was part of my life.

  81. Brenda Clark
    Posted October 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    My heart is very saddened by Bob’s passing, I will never forget him and will miss him very much. Bob and I shared a love of animals, especially Honey Bees and I am going to miss our talks. UNC has truely lost a spectacular person.

  82. Eugenia Bastos
    Posted October 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    I was a very lucky UNC Public Health student to have Bob as my advisor in 1999. Bob created a huge impact in my career as a role model in cancer epidemiology for his brilliant competence, teaching skills and his character. Bob was an inspiration in several areas: as a thoughtful and vigilant advisor, as an objective and knowledgeable committee member, as a supportive and cautious reviewer of my drafts and a kindly mentor in helping me to create a vision for my future endeavors adn as a great friend. I own Bob a huge thanks for the advancement and success in my professional life.
    Thanks so much, Bob for your kindness, your friendship and your supportive presence. You will always be alive in my thoughts and prayers and I will miss you tremendously! In Love and Peace!

  83. John Witte
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m very sad to hear about Bob’s death. I have fond memories of spending time with Bob in the classroom at UCLA both as students and TAs, and working together on breast cancer and Santa Monica Bay pollution research projects. He was always thoughtful, considerate, and smart. The sort of true friend who helped you move apartments in graduate school… I miss you Bob,

  84. Roger Detels
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Bob was an outstanding student at UCLA, excelling in his studies. However, we will best remember Bob for his warmth and interest in his fellow students and faculty. He became more than a student to the faculty and we have watched his career blossom with pride. Bob was loved by his fellow students, the staff and the faculty of the UCLA Department of Epidemiology. We shall miss him but will treasure our memories of his time with us.

  85. Roberta Malmgren
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I was so lucky to have Bob as a friend when he was an epidemiology doctoral student at UCLA. Besides his remarkable intellect, Bob had an extraordinarily compassionate and sensitive nature. In so many ways… ways not quantifiable as are his outstanding academic achievements…Bob had a huge impact on the students, staff and faculty here, making all of our lives better for the knowing of him. His death is an immeasurable loss.

  86. Lauren McCullough
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    During my tenure at UNC I had the opportunity to experience great growth as a scientist through my experience in the classroom and in my research. I feel that this experience was enhanced by the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with Bob. In the classroom Bob encouraged us to think critically, engage actively, and apply concepts to real research problems. I was fortunate to have Bob’s guidance through difficult and sometimes contentious aspects of my dissertation research and always appreciated his encouraging practically and good science over ‘fashion’. Bob was certainly a role model to me and I admired and respected him greatly.

  87. Heather Feigelson
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I am so sad to hear about Bob’s death. I have fond memories of him when we were students at UCLA. This is such a loss to the Public Health and Epidemiology communities. You will be missed, Bob

  88. Sylvia Rickard
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    I was so sadden to hear the news that our friend Bob Millikan passed away. My Husband and I both took Project Lead and both had the good fortune to have Bob as our teacher. What a kind, humble man I will miss his friendship. I don’t think I ever thanked him enough for his advice when I started serving as a consumer advocate on NCI Committees. Breast cancer advocates have lost a fellow advocate. Thanks again Bob!

  89. Matt McKinnon
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    Bob was my first best friend in this life. We met a year or so before we started school. No I don’t mean college. We probably weren’t quite four years old. We were inseparable for a few years. We did little boy heaven together and certainly with Brent too. Tree climbing, canyon exploring, inventing our own version of snail poison, helping Don build the tree house, playing sports and games, a couple of trips to Idlewild. Good memories.

    I was blessed to get to know Bob again just a few years ago . Something about our rhythm in conversation or familiarity it was as if we had not missed a week apart. My life has been better for knowing this gentle brilliant humble guy Bob and I know our community has been left for the better by him. Thank you for letting me join you in honoring and celebrating Bob’s life.

  90. Carol Morton
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I was very saddened to hear of Bob’s death. He was a dear, loving, and kind-hearted man. You will be missed. My prayers and thoughts are with the family.

  91. Joanna Smith
    Posted October 25, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    We were all so fortunate to have Bob with us. His intellect and his kindness were remarkable, and I am grateful to have known him as a researcher and a friend.

  92. Eric Pevzner
    Posted October 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I completed an EPI Minor and Bob was my advisor. I was fortunate enought to take his Cancer Epi course and have him lecture on scientific writing and other topics in my other EPI courses. I fondly remmeber him as one of the best instructors I have ever had and always try and hold myslef to the standard that I felt he set for teaching. He was a kind, thoughtful, and gentle man and the school and the field of Public Health has lost someone special that based on the number of comments clearly had a significant positive impact on the lives of men. We will miss you but not forget you Bob.

  93. Christine Parks
    Posted October 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I am profoundly saddened by Bob’s passing.  He was my first mentor in epidemiology, my first contact in the department as a prospective student visiting over holiday vacations.  From the very beginning, and throughout the years, Bob treated me like scholar, and when I needed feedback on “big picture” questions – science and career – he was a treasured resource. Bob was a encouraging and supportive man. also very kind to me, and would always remember to ask about my family.  I will miss his presence.

  94. Edna Lennon
    Posted October 25, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    I am happy for the opportunity that I had to work with Bob. He was devoted to his work and to cancer research. Bob’s quiet and pleasant manner shall always be remembered.

  95. Andy Olshan
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    As Bob’s colleague and friend, words cannot begin to express the deep loss we feel with Bob’s passing. He was so talented in so many ways- science, music, sports. I am convinced that Bob would very much appreciate the vast praise for his contributions to epidemiology, to being a major figure in the war on breast cancer, to his deep knowledge and creativity with the integration of disciplines from biology, veterinary medicine, social science and epidemiology.
    However, I am just as certain that he most valued his special ability to impart wisdom and kindness to others through his teaching, mentoring, work with the advocacy community, church, and the rowing team- these networks of professional and personal relationships, still to this day, so positively influence the lives of others. This is where Bob is missed the most and where his spirit lives.

    Last week I visited his UNC office and studied several poems and sayings he has had posted over his desk. I feel the following quote from St. Francis of Assisi is apropos:

    “Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received-but only what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”

  96. Chris Martin
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I first met Bob in 1994, in a class, and I felt from that first interaction that here was someone with a lot to give, professionally and personally, someone worth my undivided attention. Over the years, I came to know the breadth of his intellect, his interests, and his commitment to teaching, knowledge, advocacy, rowing and more. For me, he was–and will remain–a continuing inspiration to strive for excellence and clear thinking in all endeavors, and to bring kindness and generosity to the diverse communities that make up our lives. It’s been a long time knowing him, and it will be a long time missing him.

  97. Diana T Chingos
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    The loss of Bob — what will we do? I met Bob at Project LEAD in 1996. It didn’t take long to recognize his far reaching generosity of spirit, his amazing intellect and (I appear to be the only one to take note of) his absolutely incredible good looks! I paid close attention during his lectures! I would run into Bob many times over the years at different meetings and his contributions were always considerable. But I was mostly profoundly touched when I contacted him about my siberian husky’s cancer diagnosis. How ironic was it that the puppy given to me for Christmas during my cancer treatment would eventually develop mammary cancer? Recalling Bob’s DVM I sought him out and he put me in touch with a friend at Purdue, an oncologic vet, and someone at NIH in charge of pre-clinical testing on canines. Breast cancer treatment isn’t optimal for humans — much less so for dogs, alas. His friends helped me a great deal but there wasn’t much that could be done for my dog. I contacted Bob when my dog died and thanked him for his help. He sent me a beautiful poem written by Eugene O’Neill about the loss of his own dog. So incredibly touching. His research, his contribution to the training of advocates, his incredible kindness. I will never forget him.

  98. Mary Beth Bell
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    “To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common–this is my symphony.” -William Ellery Channing
    Good night and God Bless, Bob.

  99. Marianne Berwick
    Posted October 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    To write about Bob is very difficult. He was so kind, gentle and intelligent. He was a stalwart of our epidemiology study, GEM. Bob was extremely thoughtful, always interested in getting to the kernel of truth in science; he worked assiduously to make sure that things did work. He wanted everyone to succeed – his students, his colleagues, his friends. We all miss him.

  100. Barbara Parker
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Bob impacted my life substantially. It was in 1993 that another breast cancer advocate introduced me to him and I made bold to ask him to help me understand several aspects of scientific research that I, having had no previous interest whatsoever in science, could not grasp on my own. (How was I to pick from the hundreds of papers on telomerase the few that would give me the overview I needed?) He graciously took me on and for the next year we met every couple of weeks in what was essentially a private tutorial in cancer research. I later learned that it was working with me that convinced him that non-scientists could learn ‘this stuff’ and led him to become involved in teaching NBCC’s Project LEAD. Imagine my delight, and his pride, when I took the course and found it to be essentially a review of what he had already taught me. I consider Bob to have been my primary scientific mentor, ‘responsible’ for my confidence and ability to interact effectively with cancer researchers on projects in the state of NC, the Duke and UNC SPORES, the NCI and cancer clinical trial cooperative groups. In subsequent years during his pioneering Carolina Breast Cancer Study projects our interaction continued and grew as Bob listened to the concerns of breast cancer advocates and his research subjects and invited them to learn more about the project. I was further privileged to host him and his mother in our home several times, a memory grown fonder since he has passed away. I join legions who will miss him terribly.

  101. Nancy Thomas
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I had the privilege of knowing Bob as a colleague, mentor and friend for 12 years. We collaborated on a melanoma study that he initiated in North Carolina for the Genes, Environment, and Melanoma (GEM) group. He was rigorous and practical but also conceptual and visionary. He impacted many people’s careers through collaboration, mentorship, and support. Through a melding of clinical insight and basic science understanding, he designed studies to be forward thinking and yield the best data possible. His research has provided and will continue to provide new knowledge that will help patients. On a personal level, he was generous, kind, and modest. He wanted everyone to succeed. He cared deeply about the less fortunate, disparity, and the environment. We will miss Bob.

  102. Lauren Trepanier
    Posted November 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I have collaborated with Bob for the past two years, and was shocked to learn of his death. He was a thoughtful and gentle soul.

  103. pam marcus
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    i always felt that bob believed in me, something that i rarely feel when interacting with others. perhaps that’s because he took the time and effort to acknowledge my accomplishments in a genuine manner, and gave constructive criticism in a kind, gentle way. in our hectic, super-critical world, we need more people to take the time and the risk to mention the good and not only criticize.

    since his death, i’ve learned that bob was more complicated than met the eye. i realize now that i didn’t know him very well. it saddens me that i will never get to know bob in his entirety.

  104. Taddy Dickersin
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Bob touched my life, and so many lives, in a unique way and will be remembered with great love and respect. He was committed for years to Project LEAD, and brought women with breast cancer into his own work, believing and acting on the belief that breast cancer consumers are one the the three “pillars” of breast cancer research. He was a true leader in this respect, being among the first to engage consumers as full partners in research, and made it natural to do so. I will miss his wise counsel and kind heart.

  105. Christine Friedenreich
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    It has taken me awhile to write a note as I have been so profoundly saddened by the news of Bob’s death. I first became acquainted with Bob in 2007 when he applied for an Endowed Chair in Molecular Cancer Epidemiology at the University of Calgary. Although he ultimately decided not to accept this position, we became colleagues and friends through this recruitment process. His intellect, his breadth of knowledge and his relevant work experience, as well as his vision, passion for teaching and mentoring would have made him an excellent chair holder. We still benefited from all of these qualities since he was remarkably generous and kind and his impact was truly international. I have just returned from a trips to the US and Australia where many of the epidemiologists that I met there knew Bob and were equally saddened by his passing. Hence, he clearly touched many lives and enriched all of those who had the privilege to know him and appreciate his fine character. He is deeply missed and mourned.

  106. Susan Sacks
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    I was so very saddened to learn about Bob’s passing. I was on the Project LEAD faculty with Bob several times and it was such a joy to work with him and to get to know him. He loved what he did and believed in his work and in Project LEAD passionately. I will miss him as we all will…

  107. Francine Laden
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I was very saddened to hear about Bob’s passing. I met him when we were both on environmental breast cancer working groups in the mid-1990s. He really helped me in the early stages of my career…

  108. Randy Durbin
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    I am shocked at Bob’s passing and sorry for his family’s loss. He never let his vast knowledge and intellect get in the way of his being a kind and thoughtful friend. I never would have gotten through organic chemistry at UCDavis without him being my constant tutor and mentor. We had such great times back then exercising and hanging out at the Rec Pool together. I hope your memories, like mine will keep him in our thoughts.

  109. Leah Sansbury
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Bob was exceptional in so many ways and touched so many of our lives. He was more than just a compassionate teacher and committed adviser. He was a mentor that was always available to lend a listening ear or some much needed words of encouragement, our on-call veterinary consultant, and most importantly a supportive and close friend. Bob was one of the main reasons that I chose to pursue my degree at UNC, and as my own career developed, I’ve come to understand and appreciate the enormous influence he’s had on the cancer and molecular epidemiology research world, as well as his influence on my own career. I will never forget the passion and humility he had for his research, his encouragement for the next generation of researchers and teachers, and most importantly, what he exemplified through his work and taught all of his students, to never forget the patients whose lives we all hope to improve through our own work. I am truly blessed that I had such an amazing mentor and friend. Bob, we miss you and your memories will always remain in our hearts.

  110. Lucinda Davis
    Posted May 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I just learned about Bob’s death. I met him about 11 years ago at a Project LEAD conference. He was the sweetest and nicest person that I know. He was a very sensitive, caring and loving soul who made me feel smart and important. I am so blessed to have known him and wished I had more time. I regret not visiting him last year when I had only to turn my car around and head in his direction. Like so many others, I thought we would have more time, more opportunities. He will be dearly missed.

  111. Pam Marcus
    Posted August 23, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Tomorrow, August 24th, is/would have been Bob’s birthday. Consider making a donation in his memory to acknowledge this day.

  112. Robert Goetze
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Please come to the Bob Millikan celebrations during March 20 – 22, 2015. Read more

  113. Will Foulkes
    Posted April 10, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I only knew Bob briefly, and by telephone only. But from the few phone calls we had, I could easily see he was a wonderful guy. I am sure his family and friends must miss him terribly. I meant to add this comment years ago, but thinking again about the paper of his that I contributed to, I wanted to add this now.

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  117. Pam Marcus
    Posted August 24, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Bob would have been 58 today.

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