President Fayneese Miller to retire spring 2024


Oracle Staff

Hamline’s 20th president, Fayneese Miller has announced her retirement effective June 30, 2024. A press release sent to the University on April 3, 2023 included Miller’s statement on her retirement as well as further information about the legacy she will be leaving behind.

Miller has been Hamline University’s president for eight years after being elected by the Board of Trustees in July 2015.

“It has been an honor and privilege to lead Hamline University, an institution that values social justice, equity, inclusion, and civic engagement through its service-learning opportunities for students and curriculum offerings,” Miller said in an email to the Hamline community.

Miller outlined how many factors impacted her decision, one of the largest being how disconnected she has been from her husband in Vermont and her son in California throughout her tenure at Hamline.

“A lot of it has to do with the fact that I need to be with my family,” Miller said in a press conference on April 3. “Imagine being in this environment without my family. It is time.”

This announcement comes months after a faculty vote was published through a letter in January requesting Miller step down.

“In academia, if everyone in the institution loves you as president, you have not done your job,” Miller said during the conference. “When you bring about change to an institution, higher ed, in my opinion, will not survive as it currently exists unless we bring about change.”

During her Hamline tenure, Miller has started multiple fundraising campaigns and has seen the largest first-year enrollment increase in the university’s history.

Miller added academic programs and invested in several others bringing Hamline into many up-and-coming areas of study including business analytics, computational sciences and forensic science.

Miller has overseen the university through the COVID-19 pandemic as well as national news coverage related to a classroom incident that happened during the fall semester of 2022.

Most recently, Hamline has received federal funding to support students receiving funding for unpaid internships, work Miller had spearheaded.

“I am proud that Hamline recently received significant federal funding and targeted increased private donations to support paid internships which will afford widespread opportunity for Hamline students for paid real-world employment experiences,” Miller said in the email statement.

Miller brought 30 years of higher education experience to the position after working at Brown and the University of Vermont.

She holds a doctoral degree and master’s degree in Experimental Psychology from Texas Christian University as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Hampton University. She also completed post-doctoral work in Applied Social Psychology at Yale University.

“It has been a pleasure working together with board members, students, faculty, staff, and the community in enhancing Hamline University’s strong commitment to maintaining high academic standards, creating a sense of belonging for all on campus, and developing students who understand and appreciate their role as members of a civil society,” Miller said in the email statement.

The email did not outline any details about the process of conducting a national search for a successor.

“Dr. Miller has been an innovative and transformational leader for Hamline,” Hamline Board of Trustees Chair Ellen Watters was noted as saying in the email. “Through her strategic vision and ability to navigate complex issues, she has ably led the University through a time of growth and change, and she has done so by centering the needs and well-being of Hamline students in her work. Hamline is forever grateful for Dr. Miller’s tireless and dedicated service.”