College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Math professor inspired students to teach

A distinguished member of the faculty, Eldon Miller taught in the Department of Mathematics for more than 30 years.

The Colorado native received his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama where he played baseball on scholarship.

“I even played a little professional baseball with the Cleveland Indians,” Miller said. “It was a lot of fun.”

After receiving his doctorate, Miller joined the UM faculty in 1966 where he taught a variety of courses.

“My graduate area was complex analysis,” Miller said. “But I taught anything from calculus to advanced calculus to college algebra and trig—just about everything. I really enjoyed teaching my students, classes were always a favorite for me.”

Serving three times as department chair, Miller definitely made an impact. In fact, he has so many former students that it’s hard for him to talk about just one.

“I have had so many favorite students over the years,” Miller said. “Students still stop by and call just to check in. Some of my students are doctors, some have professional jobs in mathematics and some work for the National Security Agency. A lot went on to teach in schools and colleges.”

Katherine King, a mathematics instructor at Northwest Community College, is one of those students. Miller inspired her to enter the teaching profession she said.

“He is the best professor I’ve ever had,” King said. “He taught such that we all understood the material. I knew that someday I wanted to teach just like him. My whole teaching career was built around Eldon Miller.”

King recalls Miller’s creativity in the classroom.

Donald Cole, assistant provost, assistant to the chancellor concerning minority affairs, and associate professor of mathematics, praises Miller for his lessons beyond the classroom.

“Eldon Miller is a man who has it all: he’s smart and athletic, has a great personality and sense of humor, and he has always wanted what was best for his students. His classes were always among the most popular–even failing students would love to retake his class. In his classes you learned mathematics and a lot more.”

“The first day of calculus there was a puff of smoke and he appeared like a magician,” King said. “That’s the kind of teacher he was—he entertained and taught through the entertainment.”

Miller retired in 2003 and resides in Oxford. In his spare time, he trains Labrador retrievers.