Susan Miller
IN MEMORY - 2013
I am Professor Emeritus of English and Writing, University of Utah, retired this May, and have a BA from Valparaiso University (IN), and MA and PhD degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill. I have taught various writing and cultural studies courses, theories of writing and authorship, and eighteenth-century British literature. Now I occasionally teach History of the Book, work with Cystic Fibrosis patients and doctors, and lead a non-fiction creative writing group for medical professionals at the University of Utah Medical Sciences Center. I hope to expand the group at the VA hospital nearby, given its staff's newly difficult patient encounters.
I have taught at Georgia State University and directed writing at Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I moved to Utah as founding director of the University Writing Program in 1985. I am a Presidential Teacher/Scholar and have been awarded the university's Outstanding Research Award, a Bennion Public Service Professorship and the Hatch Teaching Award. Hard work makes for strange politics.
Because I am afraid of heights, am blind in one eye from a death-defying car accident in the early 70s, and hate speed on principle, I have also written 4 books about pedagogy and the history of writing, authorship, and rhetoric, and 4 textbooks (including the 9th ed. of Writing with a Purpose and most recently edited The Norton Book of Composition Studies). That is, Utah's outdoors is a blessing for others-you are always welcome to visit me, rent my large house for skiing and scenery, or, in fact, buy it so I can move closer to home. I am visiting DC at the reunion to look around for a place to re-settle, sans wagon trains, and maybe find part-time work.
My recent picture is of me holding Mary Nell, my grandniece and the light of family life, who lives in Charleston, SC, with my nephew (who played Division One BBall at Wofford) and Nell, his lovely and equally accomplished wife. My brother, Jack, and his wife, Barbara, still live in Fredericksburg. He retires periodically; she is a VP of her company and advises admirals at Patuxent about things I never understand. It's safer that I don't. My parents lived in the Northern Neck after retiring, in White Stone, so I've always spent holidays in Virginia and think of it as home.
I am very grateful for my W-L experiences, which have guided me ever since through various stages: relatively brief marriage, being denied tenure for taking up and developing an ultimately successful but then non-existent academic field, traveling as innocently as possible and living in 4 extraordinary American cities, always as the tourist that DC natives are doomed to be everywhere else. As I've read our profiles, I see why that is so--we may be the last generation who had vivid choices about what sorts of consciousness to lose and to keep. I learned how to make those choices from thoughtful teachers and classmates who did both and have mostly enjoyed the results.