Miller retires after 23 years of excellence
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After 23 years at Emporia State, Marie Miller, dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has decided to retire. After holding such titles as professor of music, chair of the music department and interim chair of Modern Languages before reaching her current position, she said, “It’s time.”
Ken Weaver, dean of the Teacher’s College, said that in her position as chair of the music department, Miller was responsible for every music teacher at Emporia State, those who taught vocal performance and every teacher that specialized in a certain instrument.
Miller excelled in all that she did, Weaver said.
“You can truly say that she has given the gift that keeps on giving, and that is the teachers that are out in the field, wherever they are,” Weaver said.
Miller said working with faculty and students has been the best part of her time at ESU.
“Working with the department to…help them through a project, whether they’re looking for funding or working on their curriculum or trying to find the best way of doing things, those are the highs,” Miller said. “That’s what I thoroughly enjoy every day.”
She admitted that a lot of her work was dealing with less funding and cutbacks, but said today’s situation is better.
“We’re in exciting times in the university now, so it’s a good time to be here,” Miller said. “(There is) lots going on and a lot of forward looking, so I think it’s a good time.”
Gary Wyatt, associate dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said that shortly after Miller was appointed dean, the economy went downhill and massive budget cuts were made.
“I’ve been able to watch her guide the college through some very difficult times…and yet she handled it so well and was able to bring people together and help them through the difficulties,” Wyatt said. “It’s when a real challenge comes that a true leader shows, and I’ve just learned so much from Marie based on the way she’s handled the challenges that have come the college’s way.”
Miller said the person she has to thank the most for supporting her through all her time at ESU is her late husband.
“He was the one person I could sit down with and talk to about the situations… He never ever gave me a sense that what I was doing wasn’t important or wasn’t worthy of his time, and that was important (to me),” Miller said.
When she retires, Miller expressed a desire to travel and see her family in Florida, assist with city planning and the senior center in Americus and continue helping with Hand in Hand Hospice in Emporia. She said her husband’s death two years ago helped her reach to the decision to retire.
“It’s been a hard adjustment, although I’ve come through it,” Miller said. “That made me realize there are things that I want to do in life, and the longer I wait, you know, the less time I’m going to have.”