Dr. Miller passed away last week.
Dr. Steven Max Miller (Steve) was a warm, passionate, and (his favorite friends and students will tell you) sometimes cranky professor in the English Department at Millersville from 1985 to 2016 and Director of the Honors College 1999-2006. For his entire time at Millersville, he also was also the parent of a succession of cats who had, perhaps, the strongest, most individualistic personalities on the planet. It has been said that Maury, his huge orange tabby, only chose not to become president of the U.S. because he believed the position beneath him. Steve was also a passionate gardener. People strolling by his house kept enquiring whether his climbing roses were trees, the huge plants grew with such enthusiasm.
Steve was perhaps the brightest student ever to come out of tiny Redkey, Indiana (population 1,353 in 2010), receiving a full scholarship to the College of William and Mary in Virginia. He graduated with a Bachelor in English with high honors at the College of William and Mary in 1972, and received a fellowship to Indiana University, where he received a Master of Arts in 1975 and a PhD in English Language and Literature in 1985.
Dr. Miller had a lifetime love affair with books and libraries. While at Indiana University, Steve was a Senior Library Assistant Cataloger in the Rare Books and Special Collections Department, Lilly Library, Bloomington, Indiana, 1972-1976. Continuing that passion, while at Millersville, Steve was a member of Friends of Ganser Library for virtually his entire career here. So, it is not at all surprising that as Director of the Honors College, Dr. Miller began the reading project for incoming Honors freshmen. Each freshman received a book during Orientation that was written by an author who was scheduled to visit the campus during the academic year. During the first week of classes, the students met for a one-time discussion group with a faculty member or administrator who volunteered to read the book and lead the discussion. Upper level Honors students were also involved in the project and many have returned each year since to help with the reading project.
It was teaching, though, which was central to Dr. Miller’s sense of self, and though he married and had cats and friends and plants, teaching was arguably the love of his life. Indeed, he taught for virtually his entire academic life. He was an Associate Instructor in the English Department at Indiana University, Bloomington from 1975-1984. He joined the English Department at Millersville as an Assistant Professor of English in 1985. He spent a year as Assistant Professor of English, Murray State University in Kentucky, 1989-1990, and then returned to Millersville. In 1994, Dr. Miller was promoted to Associate Professor, English, also at Millersville. He became Director of the Honors College from Fall 1999, serving in that capacity through Spring 2006. In that time, Dr. Miller was instrumental in the process of transforming the erstwhile Honors Program into the Millersville Honors College.
Steve Miller cared fiercely about good writing, and his influence went far beyond his students here at Millersville. A fierce feminist, Steve was a consultant for the Women Writers Project at Brown University in Providence, RI from 1990-1995. Always ready to experiment with new things, Dr. Miller became Cofounder and Executive Editor of ReSoundings, an experimental, juried digital publication with a focus primarily on literary criticism regarding the British medieval and early modern periods. The journal was international in scope, with editors in the U.S., Canada, Britain, and Australia.
Always engaged, Dr. Miller was the faculty sponsor Iota Phi chapter Sigma Tau Delta, Millersville beginning in 1986, serving in that capacity until his retirement. Dr. Miller was a grantee for the National Endowment for Humanities, 1991-92. He was a member of the Modern Language Association, the John Donne Society of American, the Spenser Society, English Association Pennsylvania State Universities (EAPSU), and the Bibliographical Society American, and the Bibliographical Society American.