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Mike Miller receives 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award

UMW News Bureau

Mike MillerUniversity of Montana Western alumnus and Education Director of Field Services Robert Michael (Mike) Miller is the 2012 UMW Distinguished Alumni.

A native of Plains, Mont., Miller graduated from Plains High School in 1970 and earned a double major in secondary education, history and English from Western Montana College (now Montana Western) in 1975.

Miller returned to his alma mater in 2003 and is now the director of student teaching, the field director and licensure official for Montana Western teacher candidates. He credits Montana Western with helping to launch his own career.

“This was the place that gave me my start, my career,” Miller explained. “I had great professors who helped me and guided me and knew me from the very beginning. It was and still is a great place for me.”

“This was the place that gave me my start, my career,” Miller explained.

He has worked in education in Montana, Idaho and Nevada for 36 years, teaching as well as coaching football, basketball and track at each school he taught at. Miller received the assistant coach of the year award in 1986 at Chinook High School; was the assistant boy’s basketball and track coach of the year in Jerome, Idaho in 1994 and 1996, respectively. Also in 1996, students from Jerome High School nominated Miller for inclusion in the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. In 1998 and 1999, he was the Idaho coach of the year while at Jerome High. In 2002, he was honored by as the West Wendover, Nev. football assistant coach of the year.

Miller was active within many organizations during his college career at Montana Western. He was in the Circle K Club and was elected the club’s governor his junior year. He participated in the Music Club and also served as the student body president his senior year.

Miller also performed in two plays — “The Glass Menagerie” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” — and sang in the Western Chorale, which was a select singing group at Western Montana College (WMC).

He continues to be as active, if not more, as a Montana Western alumnus. Most recently, he had a role in the Montana Western spring 2012 production of “Oklahoma.” He adds color commentary during Lyon Group radio broadcasts and internet streams for UMW Bulldog football and basketball games.

“Mike is the first guy to volunteer for anything on campus,” UMW Director of Alumni Affairs Roxanne Engellent said of Miller. “You will always find him assisting at theater, choral and alumni events, football and basketball games and emeriti functions, just to name a few. The comment everybody makes about Mike is that he bleeds black and red. He is such an advocate for this university and our students. It’s a pleasure to honor him with this award.”

Miller has also been involved with the Dillon Kiwanis Club since 2003. He served as the club’s lieutenant governor for three years and is the governor-elect as of October 2012.

One of Miller’s most passionate volunteer efforts is for the Beaverhead County Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. Miller’s sister Sherry Miller (a Montana Western alumna) died from breast cancer in 2007, and he has been involved with both the local Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society for the past eight years. He and his family also established the Sherry Miller Memorial Scholarship at Montana Western in his sister’s honor.