Apr 26, 2008

The WIU History Department's 2008 Distinguished Alumnus Award was given to Matthew Miller, a Quad Cities business leader, at the 33rd Annual WIU History Conference. Originally from Morton, Illinois near Peoria, Mr. Miller graduated cum laude with a B.A. in History from WIU in 1992, followed by a year of graduate study in the History Department. He subsequently obtained the SRA designation as a member of the Appraisal Institute in 2007. Mr. Miller, a Certified Residential Appraiser, is currently the CEO and President of Rally Appraisal, which employs more than 100 people in more than six states.

Mr. Miller commented that "being exposed to critical thinking and analysis" in his historical studies at Western, as well as gaining "written and oral communication skills" as a History major proved to be of "immeasurable value" in his career in real estate appraisal. A student of Dr. Bill Combs, Mr. Miller observed that through his courses and conversations with Dr. Combs, "I developed a desire for knowledge that still permeates my life to this day."

Upon receiving the History Department's Distinguished Alumni Award, Mr. Miller commented that "I could not imagine a path that would have done more to prepare me for my future career in business. A liberal arts education, specifically in History at Western Illinois University, prepared me thoroughly to compete in the business world. At Western I learned to think critically, to adapt, and in short, to learn. Through this process the foundation was set for success throughout my career. . . . The world changes so quickly that it is virtually impossible to teach someone a skill that will still be in demand even five years after graduation, let alone twenty. However, if the foundation is set establishing the desire and ability to learn, adapt, and change, one graduates with the skills necessary to be successful in any endeavor they choose. My degree in History from WIU gave me that foundation."

The Department of History is delighted to have had this opportunity to honor Matthew Miller's accomplishments with its Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2008.

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