Deb Miller 1984, 1986

BA (1984) and MA (1986) in English at WIU

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Business Information:  Beginning in 1986, I served in various teaching and administrative positions at Western Illinois University. I served as Director of Special Projects and Development in the College of Fine Arts at WIU until 2004, when I resigned to take the position of Director of the Branch Campus at Carl Sandburg College. I was promoted to Dean of Extension Services at Carl Sandburg College and served in that capacity until my retirement in 2017. 

Advice for Freshmen:
Western Illinois University has many areas to explore: academic subjects, arts, clubs and organizations, sports and most importantly, people who come from different backgrounds. Embrace the opportunity to learn and experience new ideas and make sure your circle of friends is diverse and broad. Regret comes from things you do not take the time explore, and the university provides opportunities to help you find what you care about, what challenges you, and where you can succeed. 

Favorite WIU Memory:  I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. Given I served in the U.S. Army from 1978-81, I felt I was making up for lost time as I was a 21 year old freshman and my goal was to get my BA in three years. On graduation day in May of 1984, after the ceremony, my father came to find me and give me a hug. The chair of the English Department at the time, Beth Stiffler, who was also committed to be my thesis advisor, came over to us and said some kind words about me to my Dad.  She did not have to take the time to find me and do that, given after the ceremony, it was pretty chaotic.  But she did. I think it shows how important faculty are to students' success and how she helped me achieve my goal to graduate in 1984.   Beth was always in my corner, even after I graduated with my master's.  I will always appreciate her kindness and support.

Family Information/Special Interests and Hobbies:  My husband, Jerry "JO" Oitker (2007 BOT) and I will be married 25 years next year.  Given I am retired, we have more time to travel, see friends and family, go to games, musicals, museums, and music festivals. We also play golf and do some target shooting.  Having more time for friends, family and fun is a real blessing.