Arts Alive Award 2024

Arts Alive Award:  An individual or individuals who give selflessly to the cause of advancing arts and culture in the community. Whether an artist, arts administrator, volunteer or patron, the nominee gives willingly and does so without seeking recognition


Gary and Georgia Miller have built an admirable record of service, collaboration, and engagement in every place they have lived. They are passionate about the arts, higher education, and nurturing the relationships between universities and communities. 

Dr. Gary L. Miller became The University of Akron’s 19th president in October 2019. Under his leadership, the University has reversed enrollment declines, reorganized the University’s college structure and used initiatives like AkronArts to strengthen the bond between the University and the city. He joined the University after serving as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (2014-2019), chancellor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (2011-2014), provost and vice president for academic affairs and research at Wichita State University (2006-2011), and as dean of the College of the Pacific at the University of the Pacific (2002-2006). In addition to more than two decades of senior higher education leadership, Miller was a faculty member at the University of Mississippi, Weber State University, and Mississippi State University. As a researcher, Miller received 25 grants and contracts, including awards from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and the United States Forest Service. Miller holds a doctorate in Biological Sciences from Mississippi State University. He earned a master’s and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of William and Mary.  Miller currently serves on the United Way of Summit and Medina Board of Directors and the Greater Akron Chamber Board of Directors Executive Committee.  

Georgia Miller has a strong background in both the private and non-profit sectors and has shared her expertise with a variety of boards and organizations in the various cities her family has called home. While living in Oxford, Mississippi, she founded Family Crisis Services of Northwest Mississippi. Miller served as CEO of the American Red Cross – San Joaquin Chapter where she organized and worked with relief workers after the California Central Valley Flood and Hurricane Katrina Disasters of 2004. While in Wichita, Kansas, Miller served on the boards of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, YWCA, and Wichita State University’s Women’s Studies Center. In Wilmington, North Carolina, she served on the boards of Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Historic Wilmington Foundation, and UNCW’s Women Studies Resource Center. While in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Miller worked as a consultant for The Greater Good, served on United Way Brown County’s Community Partnership for Children, and actively participated in raising funds and distributing scholarships for local students to attend post-secondary education. In Akron, Miller is a member of the boards of the Akron Symphony Orchestra and ArtsNow. She also serves on the Community Investment Committee for the Akron Community Foundation. She is a member of the University’s AkronArts Initiative and The University of Akron Stewardship and Women in Philanthropy Committee.

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