The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

September 19, 2011

Pfeiffer president looks to the future, discusses ways alumni can assist

Leader reflects on last eight months

By Marina Richardson, Staff Writer

Monday, September 19,2011 — Pfeiffer University President Mike Miller has been a part of Pfeiffer for eight months now.

“It’s been an interesting and invigorating number of months where I have had the opportunity to get to know the campus — faculty, staff, coaches and students,” Miller said.

“We’ve got so much going on. It’s very exciting.”

A native of Asheboro, Miller has degrees in business and law.

“I started off after law school in a corporate position, working for the company that made Wrangler Jeans,” Miller said.

“I returned to Asheboro to practice law, and I represented the county board of education. I went to work at the local bank and was there for 24 years. I played a part in its growth of 20 fold.”

Miller enjoys taking part in building and growing institutions, he said.

“I’ve always enjoyed growing and expanding. I’m not a status quo kind of person. I’m also an optimist,” Miller said.

After retiring from the bank, Miller heard about Pfeiffer’s search for a president.

“An alumnus came to Asheboro and said this is what I needed to do. One thing led to another, and here I am,” Miller said.

Miller, his wife, Donna, and their dog, Ginger, have moved into the President’s House on the Pfeiffer campus and are decorating the walls of the house with student and faculty artwork.

They have enjoyed a warm welcome at Pfeiffer, Miller said.

“People here have been very welcoming, very open to the fact that my background is not in academia,” Miller said.

“At the same time, I’ve tried to make the effort to learn the business. I think we are all interested in the same thing — a top flight education and educational experience at Pfeiffer.”

This year has been a busy one for Pfeiffer, Miller said.

“We have 12 new faculty members, all of whom have terminal degrees in their field. We have kicked off a major strategic planning project. We had a major planning meeting where we talked about our strengths, opportunities and aspirations,” Miller said.

“It’s good to hear that everyone has high aspirations for Pfeiffer.”

Sharing information about what Pfeiffer has to offer will be key to the university’s success, Miller said.

“A lot of people don’t realize how extensive our opportunities are at Stanly and at our other campuses in Charlotte and at the Research Triangle Campus,” Miller said.

“Our graduate programs are really top notch, and we have more and more students taking classes online.”

Pfeiffer has also developed programs for first year students and new academic support programs and continues to maintain a relationship with Stanly Community College, Stanly Regional Medical Center and other local schools and organizations.

Miller hopes to see Pfeiffer continue its emphasis on strong academics, service and a variety of activities for students, he said.

“When you look at the resources that we put into academics, the campus and special programs and events, you can see that we really are trying to create a very well-rounded student experience,” Miller said.

According to Miller, campus improvements have been an important focus this year.

“We’ve done a lot of fixing up and freshening up,” Miller said, adding that the gymnasium, in particular, has been upgraded.

A new program at Pfeiffer, called ICARE (Curb Appeal Restoration and Enhancement), gives the community the opportunity to take part in campus improvements.

Through ICARE, alumni and community members can donate to specific campus projects, such as sidewalk repairs, classroom enhancements and residence hall and athletic facility improvements.

“This is a way to help us catch up with some of the basic needs,” Miller said.

“At the end of the day, it will make the campus more attractive to future students. Improving our athletic facilities is also important, especially at Misenheimer, where the majority of our students are involved in athletics.”

For more information about ICARE, visit

Miller looks forward to working closely with the faculty, staff and alumni.

“I feel like a juggler. I enjoy having all these balls in the air,” Miller said.

“I’m pleased and proud that there is a very competent faculty and staff that are juggling just as hard as I am.

“The alumni board here is also amazing.”

Miller also anticipates staying busy and involved.

“When I go to work every day, I know there’s not going to be a lack of great things to work on that day,” Miller said.

“I look forward to being part of the growth and enhancement of everything we do. Pfeiffer has a lot of things going for it.”

For more information about Pfeiffer, visit

To submit story ideas, contact Marina Richardson at (704) 982-2121 ext. 28 or