• Remembering a Baylor legend: Ann Miller

    Portrait photo of Ann Miller

    It never takes long in any conversation about “great Baylor teachers” for the name “Ann Miller” to surface.

    As a two-time Baylor graduate (BA ’49, MA ’51), a Baylor English professor for more than 40 years, and part of Baylor’s first class of Master Teachers, Miller was Baylor through and through.

    Born in Dallas, Miller studied English at Baylor under the legendary Dr. A.J. Armstrong, graduating in 1949 as one of just two students that year to earn an honors degree. After studying at UT and completing her master’s back at Baylor, Miller began teaching full-time in the Baylor English department in 1961. Over the years, she would also lead the “Baylor in the British Isles” study abroad program, an interdisciplinary seminar in medical humanities, and college Sunday school classes at First Baptist Waco.

    In her 40+ years of teaching, Miller was named Outstanding Professor by Mortar Board 12 times, in addition to honors from the student body, Student Congress and alumni groups. In 1982, she was named one of Baylor’s first two Master Teachers, and in 2003, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Baylor.

    Miller’s degree citation summed up her work: “Having now been a professor herself in the English department for over 40 years, Professor Miller continues to be pronounced ‘brilliant’ as she brings literature to life for and in her students. Her abilities to challenge, encourage, inspire and exhort students to reach beyond themselves are legendary. In recognition of her lifelong dedication to Baylor, to the arts and to outstanding teaching, Baylor University bestows the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters upon one of its most admired and treasured graduates and faculty members, Ann Vardaman Miller.”

    After the presentation, Miller spoke about her love for Baylor and for teaching: “I am profoundly moved, and my deepest gratitude goes to the administration for this capstone experience which humbles me utterly. This award does not come only to me; it honors teaching itself. It honors those professors of the past. I like to think it honors those outstanding colleagues with whom I have walked this campus. Professors, who through their scholarship and generosity of spirit, have influenced thousands of students. This award belongs to the students who have made teaching a sheer and surpassing joy, nothing less. I will remember this [moment] always. I will, as Yeats said, ‘Hear it in the deep heart’s core.'”

    Miller passed away in 2006 after a long battle with cancer, but her legacy continues to be celebrated at Baylor in many ways, from the stained glass window at Armstrong Browning Library to multiple endowed scholarships given in her honor.

    Sic ’em, Ann Miller!