ROE R. Cross Distinguished Professor
2005 - Donald S. Miller
Known for his photographic memory and boisterous style, Dr. Miller has been since the early 1960s at Emporia State University — what one faculty colleague called in an award nomination form — a “living legend” on campus.
On faculty rating sites, Miller scores high and has been called “campus icon” and “a riot” and “one of the most interesting professors at ESU.” He has been nicknamed “Donzie” and “Dirty Don,” and one rating entry noted that Dr. Miller “honestly cares about his students.”
His classes have always been known for their upbeat tempo and peers praise his innovative teaching methods. Though, to hear him describe his teaching philosophy, it may come across as simplified and somewhat mundane.
“I love the opportunity to work with students,” said Miller, “to see them progress and develop. I have the chance to see them grow.
“In classes,” he adds, “I seek to help students gain greater understanding of business by making research assignments that cover pertinent topics with the intent of providing relevant learning opportunities. Typically, I have them develop reports and then share information by making presentations to classmates.”
Words do not express the emotion Miller has while in the classroom or when meeting up with students out on the campus grounds. His passion, however, is clear.
“Hopefully, students acquire worthwhile insights to prepare for the real world,” said Miller. “It is my heartfelt desire that they acquire wisdom and confidence for responding to realities of life and develop capabilities to be successful professionals as well as good citizens who will make meaningful contributions to their communities.”
Fellow professors Dr. John Rich and Bill Barnes attest to Miller’s teaching prowess.
“Dr. Don Miller is the most colorful School of Business faculty member and has been for nearly 50 years,” said Rich. “He is full of fun and good humor and brings enjoyment to the learning experience while maintaining high academic standards. Don is very interested and supportive of his students in the classic Emporia State traditions. he is a true one of a kind ESU treasure.”
“Don Miller uses a unique blend of humor,” added Barnes, “combined with his teaching experience, to provide his students a positive learning opportunity. Don’s love of writing is an asset, as he helps students improve their communication skills. His passion for learning drives his success in the classroom.”
Miller received his BSB in 1965 and his MS in 1966 from Emporia State University. After a time at Oklahoma State University where he earned his Ed.D. in business education in 1972, Miller returned as an instructor at ESU. Four decades later, he remains at the school where he has served as chair of the division of management, marketing, finance, and economics, director of the center for management development services, and director of the MBA program.
In his role as a professor, Miller believes he is just carrying on a tradition that helped get him on the right path in his Northeast Kansas hometown.
“I was fortunate to have excellent teachers who taught me the value of education and helped me gain the necessary life-related skills” he said. “Consequently, this background gave me the confidence that I could succeed in college and a professional career.”
Besides his prolific writing, — which includes co-authoring numerous journal articles and four college texts — Miller was quite active when Emporia State produced educational television programs for its Channel 8, developing numerous courses for the station and the Kansas State Telenetwork. He also has been prominent in providing management training presentations on campus and in the community with local companies such as Camoplast, Newman Regional Health, Norfolk Iron and Metal, Sauder Custom Fabrication, Hopkins Manufacturing, Vektek and Safeway Pet Foods.