A celebration honoring the popular and beloved former Indiana University Northwest Chancellor Peggy Elliott-Miller will take place on Thursday, May 6 in the Savannah Center Auditorium. A public reception at 5 p.m. will precede a short program, "Miracle on 34th avenue and Broadway: Memories of IUN," beginning at 6 p.m.
After her departure 12 years ago to head another university, Elliott-Miller has not formally visited the campus she helped build. Her return is also an opportunity to highlight the latest installment of the Steel Shavings magazine series, Vol. 35 "Educating the Calumet Region: A History of Indiana University Northwest." The program will feature remarks from several current and former faculty members.
A native of Kentucky, Elliott-Miller taught high school for many years at Transylvania College. She then moved to Northwest Indiana to teach in Gary, all the while earning a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from IU Bloomington. Working in various administrative positions within the School of Education, she quickly made an impression on the university with her enthusiasm and warm leadership style. It was her position as an assistant to former Chancellor Danilo Orescanin that helped propel her career to the top. Orescanin recognized her powerful administrative skills. Elliott-Miller was instrumental in building the campus’s academic excellence in its own right, apart from its affiliation with Bloomington. Under her tenure Marram Hall reached completion and plans were made for a student activities building that is now the Savannah Center.
"My goal was to help us take another step in our development. The first chancellors had gotten a program and faculty into place, and Orescanin had brought community attention to what we had to offer. I thought it was time to make our next investments in strengthening our quality and making that quality our hallmark," Elliott-Miller said. " I worked to help both faculty and students achieve those awards that give external validity to an university…I also wanted to be sure that our students were receiving a full education and not being shortchanged in terms of campus life."
History Professor James Lane, Ph.D., thinks it’s fitting that Elliott-Miller be honored in the building she helped envision. Lane and co-editor, History Professor Paul Kern, Ph.D., produce the Steel Shavings series. Each magazine, usually published annually, relies on oral interviews conducted by Lane and his students to tell the social history and heritage of the region’s inhabitants.
This latest issue chronicling IU Northwest’s history features more than 100 interviews with current and former professors, staff and students. "Few people realize that IUN can trace its origins back 80 years and that the campus went through several phases before it became a four-year institution in 1967. It contains stories, anecdotes—fun stuff," Lane said. "The intention is that it reflects my philosophy of doing history from the bottom up."
The event is sponsored by the IU Northwest History Department, Calumet Regional Archives and the College of Arts and Sciences. Copies of the 288-page Steel Shavings magazine, "Educating the Calumet Region: A History of Indiana University Northwest," will be on sale at the event for $15. For more information, or to RSVP for the reception, please call (219) 980-6655.