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Alumni Spotlight: Gertrude and Lon Miller

Gertrude and Lon Miller
Pictured: Wendell Jeffries (A&S Development), Dr. Sam Dragga  (Chairperson, Department of English), Gertrude Miller, Lon Miller, Amy Crumley (A&S Development)

Lubbock, Texas


Gertrude (1965, B.S., Education; 1969, M.Ed., Counseling) and Lon Miller (1971, B.A., Philosophy, minor, English) attribute much of their professional success and global perspective to gratifying educational experiences in the College of Arts and Sciences.

A native of Odessa, Gertrude transferred from a hometown college to study education, which then was offered in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Being at a large university was an inherently broadening experience because you can see all that is going on, whether in your field of study or something else. There are lectures, musical performances and so much more to take in,” Gertrude said. “I felt that I was associating with people who really made me think.”

Lon was raised on a farm near Floydada and initially found the transition from a 60-student high school class to a major university overwhelming. But, the encouragement of English Professors Thomas Langford, (who later became Dean of the Graduate School) and Kline Nall, and Philosophy Professor Charles Hardwick, reenergized Lon and prompted him to change his major to humanities.

“My degree in philosophy gave me a different perspective, which I needed,” Lon said.

The Millers met while at Texas Tech and married on June 1, 1967. During a 32-year career with Lubbock ISD, Gertrude worked as an elementary school teacher, counselor and diagnostician. In 1998 she joined the College of Education’s staff part-time as a student teacher supervisor.

“It was a wonderful way to continue sharing what I knew in education and also to see what was new,” said Gertrude, who retired several years ago.

While a student, Lon began a 20-plus-year career in the outdoor advertising and signage business. In the late 1980s, he started the first of six companies whose services included transporting cotton, renting cranes and repairing tools.

“Being in the commercial sign business, I had dealings with many different companies, which gave me a unique insight into their special needs,” said Lon, who is now semi-retired. He continues to manage rental properties and some business interests.

Community service has been a life-long passion for the Millers. Lon’s volunteerism includes serving on the South Plains Food Bank Board of Directors and being chairman of the Breedlove Board of Directors, Lubbock’s Zoning Board of Adjustment and the District Finance Committee for the Rotary, of which he has been an active member for many years.

Gertrude’s community work includes serving on the advisory committee for the Food Bank’s Farm Orchard and GRUB youth organization and the foundation boards for The Children’s Home of Lubbock and Texas Boys Ranch. In 2003, she received a Gold Medalist Award from the Lubbock Professional Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications and was later named an Altrusa Woman of the Year.

The Millers’ appreciation for their alma mater came full circle when they donated funding for archways at the English/Philosophy & Education Complex that opened in 2002. A plaque at the Education Building archway honors Gertrude and Lon’s relatives who graduated from the college. A second plaque at the English/Philosophy Building archway memorializes Lon’s three influential professors.

The donation reflects the Millers’ gratitude to the College of Arts and Sciences for their rewarding educational opportunities and their desire to ensure the same for future students.

“We are so proud to be associated with the university,” Gertrude said.