Title: Darlene Miller to retire from AU
Darlene Miller has spent her life looking forward to the next adventure. Now she's applying the same enthusiasm that has served her so well throughout her years at Anderson University to her upcoming retirement. "I think because the timing is right, I've had very few moments of sadness," Miller said. "I'm looking forward to the future." Miller, 60, has spent the majority of her adult life serving Anderson University.
As a child, Miller wanted to teach first grade. But just as she was about to graduate from Anderson University and start her teaching career, opportunity knocked.
Her mentor, Vila Deubach, asked her to take a one-year position to develop a new teaching materials and media center to help teachers build their curriculum.
"So, I said, 'That's so exciting. I'd love to do that,' and that's where it all started," Miller said. "It stretched into 19 years."
Along the way, she picked up her master's and doctorate's degrees in education at Ball State University.
In 1980, Miller moved to chair of the education department before being named dean of the newly created school of social and professional studies in 1983.
At the time, Anderson College was in transition to become Anderson University.
"That was a whole new venture," Miller said. "It was really fun because nobody knew what we were doing. We just dived into it."
In 1995, the university created a new college of arts and Miller took over the art, communications and music departments.
"Other than for enjoyment, I knew very little about the formal processes of art and music," Miller said.
So, she learned from the students, joining them in their classes and attending their performances.
Carl Caldwell, vice president for academic affairs, said Miller frequently attended several events per night.
"She gave freely of her time to students," he said.
Her dedication did not stop at the campus boundaries, either, Caldwell said.
"Her love of the arts has really been carried into the community," he said.
As part of her drive to make Anderson a better place to live, Miller has worked to bring more cultural events here. She is on the board of directors for the Anderson Fine Arts Center and the board of the Anderson Symphony Orchestra.
"We've got a great symphony now and then we support that with all the music we have here," Miller said.
However, she confessed she is looking forward to attending AU music and drama functions without having to worry about whether things run smoothly.
In addition to being able to enjoy concerts, Miller will have lots of time to travel.
"Now, it's time to go back and savor some of the wonderful, special places I ran through in the early years," Miller said.
She already has trips to France, Russia and Scandinavia, and a cruise from Beijing to Bangkok planned.
"We're going to soak up the art and history in southern France," Miller said. "We've arranged for a person to come in and cook a meal for us, a typical Provence meal."
Miller said she will also spend time with relatives in Florida, especially during the winter.
Miller's last day will be June 1.
"There are seasons to things and I think it's the season for retiring and moving on to new adventures," she said.
--AMY CAHILL is a reporter for the Anderson Herald-Bulletin.