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Williston State College president says goodbye

Dr. John Miller
Dr. John Miller(kfyr)
Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 4:52 PM CDT
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WILLISTON, N.D - A new facility. A pandemic. And countless more hurdles and accomplishments. Dr. John Miller is bidding farewell to Williston State College after five years as president.

For his staff, their impression of him was unanimous:

“He’s very personable,” said Katie Wenke, director for extended learning.

A trait his students could feel, too.

“You would see him walking around, visiting with the students,” said Kristina Kitchens, student finance associate.

He was also a cheerleader for his staff.

“He actually was the one who encouraged me to finish schooling,” said Jenae Hunter, executive assistant to the president.

And that encouragement could have moved mountains.

“He makes you feel like you’re important and that you matter as an individual,” said Wenke.

For Dr. Miller, his philosophy means Teton is about family. That’s why he considers his greatest accomplishment during his time was protecting that family during the pandemic.

“The biggest thing was keeping us safe and keeping us operational during covid. There were so many moving parts, it took so many people,” said Miller.

He was with them every step of the way.

“He was always there, sending out press releases, saying ' we can do this, you guys, we’re moving forward, we will see there is a light at the end of this tunnel,’” said Hunter.

Now, as he walks around a campus where masks are no longer required, the nostalgia is setting in - but he says it’s time for change - and has some advice for incoming president, Dr. Bernell Hirning.

“Embrace northwest North Dakota, embrace Williston in particular, and it will be a good ride,” Miller says.

He says there’s no more giving place than Williston - to which he, too, has given so much.

Dr. Miller says he’s taking some time to relax but is going back to his K-12 roots, training principals and superintendents - adding he’ll still be around, cheering on the Tetons.

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