Dr. Kelly Miller has been with Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi since the beginning. What was originally Texas A&I University at Corpus Christi became Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi between 1993-1994. Miller joined that year and, at 26 years old, was the youngest full-time faculty member. She taught for 16 years, was a department chair and dean and held the positions of provost and vice president for academic affairs.
In 2010, she co-authored a book titled Business and Professional Communication: KEYS for Workplace Excellence. Now in its fifth edition, it went on to win a Textbook of the Year award this past year.
Miller made history again in 2017 when she was named the University’s first female president. Throughout her stratospheric success, Miller’s focus was always on students and their successes.
“When I first became president, I was asked, ‘What do you want your legacy to be?’ And I thought: I already had my legacy,” she said. “My legacy is seeing students as leaders all over this community.”
This passion and dedication drove her to teach amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Events were canceled, so I have the time. I taught a class, and it was wonderful to have that opportunity. Seeing these young people and their dreams and aspirations, working so hard in a difficult situation—it just gave me so much hope,” Miller said.
And they prevailed. Despite the unprecedented times, TAMUCC experienced something momentous. “During COVID, our faculty turned on a dime to be able to deliver quality education. And we saw an 11.4% increase in the graduation rate.”
It’s one of many in the long list of successes that the university and its students have experienced under Miller’s tenure, which include a 300% increase in students participating in honors programs and an increase in students who automatically qualify for scholarships.
Her love for this community extends far beyond the university walls. Miller is extremely active in the community, serving on various boards and in many organizations including the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation, American Heart Association Circle of Red, Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, U.S.S. Lexington, the Harbor Playhouse, the Art Museum of South Texas and the South Texas Botanical Gardens.
With such an impressive and extensive career, I asked her what stands out as among its most rewarding and fulfilling elements. Without pause, she reflected on her history and roots in teaching. “I just absolutely love it. Our students are incredible,” Miller said. “It’s still the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.”