Alumni Profile: Michael Miller

Submitted by Virginia Weir, Assistant Director of Advancement Communications on June 19, 2012

 

Fairfield instills in us the importance of rigor and values, together with a respect for relationships, friendships, and connectedness. I am the envy of my non-Fairfield friends, for when they witness me with fellow alums they see that we are part of something large and loved to this day.

Michael Miller ’87

Hometown: Chicago, IL (but I came to Fairfield from the Bronx)

Program: English Literature

Current Employment

I own my own business as a Speaker and Leadership Consultant. I travel 240 nights a year to colleges and universities and companies around the United States, presenting to audiences as small as 20 and as large as 5,000.

Favorite Memories of Fairfield

I have far too many to choose just one. I loved the special events like Harvest and Dogwoods Weekends, but I appreciated also the quiet moments walking from the library to the Quad in the evenings, long dinners arguing politics or philosophy in the dining hall, or having a moment to think while sitting on the hill just outside of Bellarmine where the view of the Long Island Sound is perfect! Hanging out at a friend’s beach house with a fire going and sound of the waves lapping against the shore.

Who was an important influence on you at Fairfield?

As far as professors go, certainly Drs. (Cecilia) Wells and (James) Farnham in the English Department inspired me to write better than I thought I could and to pay attention to language always! Many of the Student Affairs staff members influenced me deeply with regard to leadership development and future career choices, especially Mr. Fitzpatrick (Jim Fitzpatrick ’70, M.A.’72), who always managed to be patient and kind with me when he advised me as FUSA President.

What activities were you involved in at Fairfield?

I spent a great deal of time in FUSA and was the president my senior year. In Residence Life I served as a Resident Advisor on the fourth floor of Jogues, as a summer RA for two years, and as a member of the Hall Council in Campion and Gonzaga Halls. I was co-director of the Tour Guides for Admissions, a DJ at WVOF, and an orientation leader. In the Campus Center, I worked in the game room, the information desk and in the Stag-Her Inn. I also was the lead in a play entitled Born Yesterday in the University Playhouse.

What did you learn/discover at Fairfield that you take with you today, both personally and professionally?

A number of things: the importance of developing relationships with people who both share your values, but also challenge them—and that the strength of those relationships can transcend time and/or distance. Also, (thanks to the Core Curriculum) that it’s important to know a little about a lot of things and more to be able to apply knowledge from one discipline to another—to be well rounded, to critically think—that is, to find the flaws before making decisions or going along with things.

Finally, I learned how important it is to love where you are and what you’re doing and to be engaged in meaningful activities. When you find that, life is a joy.

Why are you proud to be a Fairfield alumnus?

My decision for college came down to Boston College and Fairfield—and while I was accepted to both, Fairfield was the right size with the right campus dynamic for me. So, I came feeling proud already. I am proud of Fairfield today because we are a successful AND happy lot—because Fairfield instills in us the importance of rigor and values, together with a respect for relationships, friendships, and connectedness. I am the envy of my non-Fairfield friends, for when they witness me with fellow alums they see that we are part of something large and loved to this day.

Tell us a bit about your role on your 25th Reunion Committee and Reunion Weekend 2012.

I served alongside Annie Micale Webb as co-chair of our 25th Reunion Committee. I handled a lot of the giving and fundraising side of the committee (with a lot of help from dear friends on the committee). It was more time and energy than I expected, but more fun and enjoyable than I anticipated as well.
And, I am happy to say that my dear Class of 1987 has broken some participation records! The Reunion was amazing fun and because we had a special event on Friday night at the Sea Grape (“The Floating Naut Returns Home”), my classmates and I had plenty of time to catch up and have longer and more meaningful conversations than at past Reunions.

I must say, my Reunion has been over for a little while now and I am still feeling let down that we’re still not together! Good news: We are already planning for the 30th!!

How would you suggest your peers/friends get more connected with the University?

The Alumni office is amazingly helpful and kind to alums looking for ways to connect. If you have time, your city probably has an Alumni Chapter, and if you’re closer, there are always ways to connect on service projects or mentoring current students. Certainly, regardless of what amount you give, involvement starts with commitment, so a donation of any size helps the University meet its goals!

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