Dr. Miller, a 1981 graduate of Wesleyan, was awarded the degree Doctor of Humane Letters during the College’s annual Founders Day Convocation in Wesley Chapel. He also delivered the keynote address during the ceremonies which launched Homecoming Weekend. West Virginia United Methodist Bishop Ernest S. Lyght received Wesleyan’s degree Doctor of Divinity during the convocation.
In his twenty-first year as a college president, Dr. Miller was honored by Wesleyan President Dr. Pamela Balch for his transformational leadership in private higher education, his commitment to the liberal arts and his national reputation as an author and consultant. He was recognized for bringing his innovative spirit to Bethany College where he was appointed president and M.M. Cochran Professor of Leadership Studies in 2007. Former president of the National Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church and fellow Wesleyan graduate Dr. Peter Weaver introduced President Miller.
In his address, “Faith of Our Founders: A Personal Homecoming,” Dr. Miller paid tribute to the “courageous work” of the founders of church-related higher education in America whose vision led to the establishment of influential, nationally ranked colleges such as Bethany and Wesleyan. “Each Founders Day is an opportunity to affirm our promises of continuity to those who have gone before us, and have conveyed to us the gift of their trust, their labor, and their dreams,” Dr. Miller said.
He said Wesleyan provided him “with a working knowledge of different subjects, a curiosity about the world, and the tools of communication and research” that served him well from his early career as a reporter in West Virginia to his work today as a nationally respected educator. He affirmed the value of the liberal arts for today’s college graduates as they “roam purposefully across the range of knowledge” and “adapt to the ever-shifting career marketplace.”
Dr. Miller was presented with a special artist’s rendering of Wesley Chapel that included an image of the cross-country coach who recruited him to Wesleyan, Hank Ellis. Coach Ellis remains a friend and mentor to Dr. Miller and attended the Founders Day ceremonies.