Dr. Herbert C. Miller
Dr. Herbert C. Miller arrived at the IU Kokomo campus on West Sycamore Street in 1960, becoming our first black faculty member. After graduating from Crispus Attucks High School in 1952, he completed his bachelor's degree at Butler University, completing coursework in Spanish, French, and German.
Dr. Miller then pursued further education in and application of foreign languages by enlisting in the Air Force, where he learned and taught Russian and Romanian. In 1959, he was among only 80 to be selected by the US Information Agency (USIA) as a Russian-speaking guide in an exchange program with the then-Soviet Union. Even after joining the faculty of IU Kokomo, Dr. Miller continued to participate in USIA programs, including the first USA-Soviet Union exchange of language teachers, in which he studied Russian at Moscow State University.
Now Professor Emeritus, Dr. Miller has held many roles on campus, including Professor of International Business and German, Dean of Faculties, Chief Executive Officer, Affirmative Action Officer, and Acting Chancellor.
Beyond his work in the classroom and administration, Dr. Miller, along with his wife, Lillian, have been prominent members of the community, particularly in their outreach with newcomers to the Kokomo community. People moving to town from other countries would quickly be introduced to the Millers, who would welcome them by teaching them about American (and Hoosier) culture, connecting them with other people and organizations in the community, and helping them improve their English.
Despite being beloved members of the IU Kokomo campus and community, Herb and Lillian Miller also confronted hostility and racism. As Dr. Miller described in his 1994 oral history interview:
"I've spent a lot of my time over the past 30 years or so talking to people in the various communities and actively engaged in trying to push forward the issue of reducing the racial separation and racial segregation which was, at that time anyway, common. We worked toward getting an open housing ordinance, for example, in the city of Kokomo so that people coming into the area could buy a house or live wherever they wanted. Which was not the case when I came here."