Magazine On-line [fall 2008]
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Around the Campus

Scholarship honors former professor James E. Miller

Former students, colleagues, and friends of Transylvania computer science and mathematics professor emeritus James E. Miller are coming forward to support a scholarship fund in honor of his remarkable 42-year tenure at the University, which ended with his retirement at the close of the 2007-08 academic year.

“What we learned from Dr. Miller wasn’t just how to write computer code, but how to solve problems and think logically,” said Steve Banfield ’90, CEO of Verve Media, a technology startup based in Los Angeles, who formally worked for Sony, Microsoft, RealPlayer, and IBM. “Those skills are ones I and many other alumni have come to rely upon throughout our careers. Creating the scholarship endowment was a small way we could encourage everyone who has been touched by the sciences programs at Transy to recognize Dr. Miller’s contributions.”

The James Miller Scholarship Fund will provide annual grants to currently enrolled deserving students who are majoring in computer science and have demonstrated financial need. Thus far, 115 donors have contributed $65,416 in gifts and pledges to the fund.

The endowment recognizes the impact Miller had as teacher, adviser, and mentor to countless students during more than four decades of service to Transylvania, from 1966-2008. He played a pioneering role in launching the University’s computer science program in the late 1960s, a time when few colleges in the nation were offering instruction in the discipline.

Suzanne Thompson ’87, a software engineer at Lexmark International in Lexington, recalled how Miller took a sincere interest in students and was always there to help them along.

“He would ask how you were doing, what classes you were taking, did you have a summer job lined up, what were you doing after graduation,” she said. “It wasn’t just chit-chat—he really cared about you. He encouraged me to send a resume to IBM at a time when everyone said they weren’t hiring; that became my first job.

“I was very glad to have the opportunity to do something to honor Dr. Miller as well as help future computer science students.”
For information on supporting the James Miller Scholarship Fund, contact the development office at (800) 487-2679.

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