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06/28/2017

Miller, Thomas B [Tom]

My most lasting memories center around singing, which I had never done before I got to Allegheny…being told as a pledge that I had to sing in the Phi Delt Ensemble, and to try out for the Singers (thank you Phil Jones), Luvy graciously letting me in, singing in small groups on the way to dinner after rehearsal, winding up directing the Ensemble and winning Greek Sing. Also bit of baseball and being fired by Garby because I wanted to go on the Choir spring trip rather than the baseball trip; intramurals and quiet evening walks in the Spring and in the winter snow; trying to decide what to major in after Dr. Steen told me bluntly in the middle of 3rd term sophomore year that he strongly suggested that continuing as a math major would be a big mistake, and defaulting to psychology.

Education after Allegheny

I left Allegheny not knowing what I wanted to do. Went back to Chicago and got a job as a computer programmer with Allstate Insurance in Northbrook – primarily because Allegheny offered and I had taken one of the few computer classes available at that time. It took me a bit less than a year to find out I hated it. Got a transfer into the personnel department, which enabled me to discover that it was really the corporate life that was eating at me. So, to graduate school where I got an MS.Ed. in Counseling from Indiana University in ’71. That’s where I met Bonnie, first day of intro to counseling class. We were married in June ’71 right after graduation. We were both looking for counseling jobs and agreed that we would go wherever the best job offer came from. She got the only offer and we moved to Los Alamos and became instant westerners. I cobbled together counseling jobs for a couple years with the local family council agency, the NM state maximum security prison in Santa Fe and wound up the last 3 years there as a high school counselor. Our first child, Shanan, was born there in ’73. I decided that the life of a high school counselor was not the path I wanted to take and felt that more grad school would open up more options. So to the University of Missouri and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. Our son, Seth was born in the middle of the move to Columbia in ‘75. We had a quick 3 years there, including an internship in the Counseling Center. My first post-doc job was a couple years at the Illinois State University Counseling Center in Normal, then on to a 5 year stint at the University of Texas Counseling Center in Austin. I had done a lot of group development, training, and consultation work in my degree program and in both counseling centers. I was recruited by a colleague who had moved from academia into the business world. We moved in 1986 to the Denver suburbs (yea back to the West) to work from the Denver office of a firm of management psychologists, RHR International. I retired from full time consulting in 2006, but kept a few clients through 2009. The work focused on the selection and development of senior executives, helping them to look at and improve their effectiveness and impact, preparing for the next levels of responsibility, team building, managing organizational change. All the work was on-site, so lots of travel. For the last 5 years of my time with RHR I managed a large contingent of RHR consultants working with Best Buy corporate leadership in Minneapolis. It was interesting and absorbing work, though after 20+ years, I was ready for a change, and so was Bonnie. She had made a career in Education, moving through various counseling, principal, and central administrative positions in the school systems in Los Alamos, Normal, Round Rock, Texas, and Littleton, Colorado, winding up for her last 7 years there as Assistant Superintendent for Learning Services in Littleton.

Our children / grandchildren

Our kids both married partners who became physicians. Shanan got a degree in English from Colorado College and worked for a while in non-profit administration in Denver before being wooed into marriage by an aspiring medical school applicant. She hung with him through medical school, internship/residency and a fellowship year in Spine Surgery before he hooked on with a very successful practice in Durango Colorado. They have 3 very special kids – a daughter and 2 sons, currently 12, 9 and 6. In addition to being a great mom, Shanan spends a lot of time in volunteer activities in Durango. Seth wound up at CC as well, majoring in philosophy. After working in Waldorf schools, mostly teaching science and computer stuff in a couple different locations, he earned a Ph.D. in Transformative Studies. He married his high school friend Josette and supported her through medical school. She is now a hospitalist at one of the big Portland hospitals. They have 2 year old son and twins expected about the time of the reunion. He currently is managing tech support for an international manufacturing company in Portland. We keep trying to recruit them back to Colorado.

Retirement

It took us a couple years and too many 7 hour drives from the Denver area to Durango to realize that we needed to move here, which we did in 2012. Built our second house and started to join the community here. The first step was joining the Unitarian-Universalist church, which quickly became a major focus of our life. We have formed a great circle of friends and found many ways to contribute to the growth of the church. Bonnie quickly became treasurer and then president of the Fellowship. We both participated in any number of committees. I have been involved in helping the Fellowship design a process that led to our first ever minister and a healthy growth spurt and am currently leading the process to create our next strategic plan, which is likely to include some significant facility expansion. After a term as vice president, I will start a 2 year term in July as president. I also joined the Durango Choral Society, a really fine choir of between 75 and 90 voices. We’ve traveled to Europe for cathedral concerts in Croatia and Austria and will sing in Carnegie Hall in 2018.

Current activities / hobbies

I take advantage of the myriad outdoor activities that Durango offers, but mostly golf, skiing and hiking. We bought a small travel trailer a couple years ago and are taking advantage of the many camping spots in the Four Corners area. Of course we spend a bunch of time with and taking care of grandkids. We’ve done some travelling in Europe and Mexico and found piloting a boat around the canals and rivers of France so enjoyable we’ve done it 3 times.

My contact Info

Address: 4 Delwood Circle Durango CO 81301
Phone: 303.521.5495
Email:

Freshman Book

 

Bonnie & Tom

 

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