Alan Brent “Al” Miller was a 2005 graduate of WKU, majoring in English and religious studies. A lifelong writer and outdoorsman, he particularly excelled in writing about the relationship between humans and the natural environment. His undergraduate piece on the works of Robert Penn Warren, A Self: Out of the Wild: Wilderness in the Works of Robert Penn Warren, earned him the Robert Penn Warren Centennial Essay Award in 2006.
Al’s life was centered in an enduring commitment to Christian discipleship, a spirit of generosity towards all those he encountered, and a passion to read and think deeply about ideas that matter. He was dedicated to serving those on the margins of society, using his talents and skills to alleviate suffering as best he could. He lived out this mission until his passing on February 5, 2010, at the age of 28.
As he concluded his degree at WKU, Al wrote this reflection on how his studies had prepared him for this service: “Thus the study of literature has prepared me to work effectively. Work intended to benefit society–intended to benefit anyone other than the self should always be undertaken with some hesitancy, some trepidation. Yet working on behalf of others is a reality and necessity in society, and as a student of literature, I am better qualified to work, to strive toward the fulfillment of our best desires, than those who have made little effort to study human nature and the self.”
To honor his memory and encourage other students to follow in his footsteps, Al’s parents, Karen and Robert Miller, established the Alan Miller Memorial Scholarship Fund in 2021. The fund assists deserving WKU incoming freshmen who are full-time students and are majoring in English. First preference is given to students who have an interest in the outdoors. Through this fund, Al’s legacy lives on in perpetuity.