Born and raised in upstate New York, Richard C. Miller grew up in an integrated environment with plenty of white friends. For his undergraduate degree, Miller attended Ithaca College, a predominantly white institution. But it wasn’t until he took a professorial job at Bowie State University in Maryland, an HBCU — historically black colleges and universities — that he was ever in an environment that was predominantly black.
“I really developed a strong sense of identity with my own race that I really hadn’t had a chance to develop prior to going to Bowie State, which was really important to me educationally, socially,” he said.
Since Bowie State, Miller has worked at Ithaca College and Benedict College in South Carolina — an HBCU.
Miller became associate vice president for Academic Affairs at WKU six years ago but was also asked to also serve as the first chief diversity officer by President Gary Ransdell in 2007.
His own life experiences have taught Miller, now vice provost and CDO, about the similarities, differences and prejudices of both white and black people, he said.
In his role as the CDO, Miller is responsible for monitoring the university’s progress on diversity-related issues, including requirements set by the Statewide Diversity Policy, which seeks to enhance diversity in postsecondary education.