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Retired languages professor establishes study abroad scholarship

Aug. 17, 2016

During his four-decade teaching career at IU Kokomo, Herbert Miller served as an unofficial ambassador to international students, and encouraged others to broaden their horizons by traveling abroad.

Well known for his saying, "All roads lead to Kokomo," he continues to promote the benefits of travel, endowing a scholarship to make it possible for more students.

herbert miller

Herbert Miller | PHOTO COURTESY OF IU KOKOMO

Miller, 86, professor emeritus of international business, established the Dr. Herbert C. and Lillian M. Miller International Travel Scholarship with a $25,000 gift. Income from the gift will support scholarships for sophomores, juniors and seniors in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences to participate in campus travel opportunities.

"The idea is to get more people out into the world," he said. "I want them to meet other people, and see others places. When you get out of wherever you are, you learn more about yourself and the world around you. The world is getting smaller and smaller, and students need to be ready to be part of it."

Donna McLean, international programs liaison, said Miller’s gift would go a long way to making travel possible for IU Kokomo students.

"His generosity reflects a commitment to improving north central Indiana, and developing opportunities for local residents, as well as a heartfelt and consistent effort to enhance diversity, increase cross cultural understanding, and promote tolerance," she said. "It has been an honor to have known and worked with Dr. Miller. I know the moment we award the first scholarship will be a particularly moving and inspirational moment for me."

Miller’s late wife, Lillian, was his travel companion, starting with his first overseas trip while in the Air Force. He went to Germany, and then Austria, for a year each. He studied Russian language while in the military, and enrolled in the graduate program in Slavic languages at IU Bloomington when he returned. She was known at IU Kokomo for preparing and serving delicious Russian-themed dinners to his students.

"This scholarship is as much hers as it is mine," he said. "When I was traveling around, she was with me."

He later spent time in what was then the Soviet Union, including a year at the University of Moscow, and also was in Romania.

Hired by IU in 1960, Miller was IU Kokomo’s first full-time African American faculty member. He taught multiple foreign languages, and later led international business classes. In addition to teaching, he also served as dean of faculty, assistant dean of academic affairs, acting chancellor, chief executive officer, and special assistant to the chancellor.

He received the Chancellor’s Medallion, given in honor to those who have provided exceptional service to IU Kokomo, in June 2016. He will be inducted into the Howard County Hall of Legends in August.

Miller received the Beta Gamma Sigma Honoree Award in 2006 thanks to these achievements and his service in numerous civic and community organizations including the Rotary Club of Kokomo, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Kokomo-Howard County Chamber of Commerce.

This gift counts toward the $2.5 billion campaign, For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign.

IU Kokomo's new travel scholarship aligns with several priorities in the university's Bicentennial Strategic Plan, including global engagement and a commitment to student success.

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