On Friday, October 2, Governor Mark Dayton, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Congresswoman McCollum, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and other dignitaries from across the nation joined Hamline faculty, staff, students, and alumni in celebrating a historic event at Minnesota’s first university. In a formal and traditional academic ceremony, Dr. Fayneese Miller was officially installed as the university’s 20th president. She is the first African American president in the history of Hamline and the university’s second woman president.
During the ceremony, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed it to be “Hamline University President Dr. Fayneese Miller Day.” The ceremony also included remarks from Senator Amy Klobuchar, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, distinguished and nationally-acclaimed academic leaders, and remarks from Hamline’s new president, Dr. Fayneese Miller.
"We prepare leaders for tomorrow by opening up the world of ideas to our students and providing opportunities to learn what is possible and how to act on those possibilities," Miller said in her Installation Ceremony remarks. "We encourage, through our teaching, writing, and high impact practices, the idea that each of us matters. We provide a space for social cohesion—a place to discuss ideas, to form key civic relationships, to learn to lead. We value intellectual curiosity, social justice, civic engagement, inclusion, and participation. In essence, we prepare future leaders who embrace social excellence."
President Miller is no stranger to leading the way in higher education. She was the first African American woman to earn her PhD from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX. In 1991, she became the first native-born African American woman to be promoted to associate professor with tenure at Brown University. She was also the first coordinator of education studies and the founding chairman of ethnic studies at Brown University. Dr. Miller holds a PhD and an MS from Texas Christian University in experimental psychology, and a BA in psychology from Hampton University. Her post-doctoral work in applied social psychology was completed at Yale University.
"We can continue to prepare leaders for tomorrow. Leaders who understand, appreciate, and act as good citizens--who have the ability to think about what needs to be done—because they have knowledge, know how to generate new knowledge, to develop plans or strategies, organize others to assume agency, to be not only part of the plan, but act on it," Miller said.
Dr. Miller brings more than 30 years of academic and higher education leadership experience to her roles as president of Hamline and as a member of the faculty as a professor of psychology and professor of education. Before coming to Hamline, she served as dean of the College of Education and Social Services and professor of leadership and developmental sciences at the University of Vermont. She is a social psychologist who specializes in the psychosocial development of adolescents, with a focus on socio-political and identity development. She has authored or co-authored seven books or monographs, more than a dozen book chapters, and an extensive number of journal articles, research reports, and conference presentations. Dr. Miller has been an invited lecturer at institutions throughout the U.S. and across the globe.
"Beyond that, what really strikes me about Dr. Miller is the passion she has for Hamline students, "Senator Amy Klobuchar said in her remarks at the ceremony. "It’s clear that she doesn’t see herself as clearly an administrator pushing papers around. She sees herself first and foremost as a teacher. She wants her students, and they are all her students, to learn, to serve, and to grow. Dr. Miller’s deep dedication to giving Pipers everything they need to succeed in college, and even more importantly in life, is a great fit for this university.”
Dr. Miller’s national committee service and commitment to public and community service are extensive. She is a past chairman of the board of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and past president of the Council of Deans from Research Extensive Institutions. She was appointed by the past governor of Vermont to join the Vermont State Board of Education on which she served as chairman for five years. In Rhode Island, she was appointed to numerous committees by the state attorney general, the governor, and the mayors of Providence and Pawtucket.