For soon-to-be Knox President Teresa Amott, the transition from Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) in Geneva, N.Y. to Knox College in Galesburg will likely be one that takes time. But for Amott’s partner, Ray Miller, the transition will be just as important, especially because he plans to help get Amott settled in to life at Knox before pursuing a career path of his own.
Miller, who has had a past in the military and in art, has been working as an audiovisual technician at HWS. However, he said he will probably not continue in the same job field at Knox.
“I want to spend most of my time supporting Teresa,” Miller said. “I’ve never been a president’s partner before. I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing.”
He is not afraid that Amott’s new job will put any more stress on them than her current job as provost does.
“I’m used to the stress,” he said.
As someone who has traveled around the country in the army and to other parts of the world as a sculptor’s assistant, Miller has learned how to adapt to new surroundings.
“I really wasn’t ready for college,” he said. “I used it as an excuse to join the army.”
His service started in 1972 with spending seven years as a private while he kept going to school at night. After those seven years, he went to work at a factory and eventually earned his Bachelor’s degree in Communications.
“When I finished up my Bachelor’s I was commissioned as an officer,” he said. “Through all my army career, I was in intelligence.”
Miller has gone to Germany and also done a tour in Panama, as well as two tours in Korea. Originally from Pennsylvania, it was at Gettysburg College that Miller met Amott after retiring from the army.
His time working at Gettysburg also led to a newfound passion for art.
“I was doing video tech … and a professor wanted video of his work—welding and sculpture,” Miller said. “I just fell in love with [welding].”
When the professor, Mark Warwick, asked Miller to go along with him to Argentina for an international sculpting competition as his assistant, he accepted. While there, in a town called Resistencia, they met sculptors from around the world with whom they still stay in touch. Since the first trip, he has gone with Warwick to several more sculpting competitions in Argentina and Sweden.
Miller started getting into welding and construction “on the side as a hobby,” but lately, with a full-time job at HWS, he has not been able to pursue it as much as he would like.
“I’m hoping to get back into it when I get to Galesburg,” he said.
During a visit to Knox, Miller met with Associate Professor of Art Mark Holmes and said he would like to get involved with Holmes’ art space, The Box, in downtown Galesburg.
“I like when students get to mix downtown,” he said.
Miller said he imagines he will enjoy Galesburg because he feels comfortable in a small town setting. While he does have some ideas, such as getting involved in the art community, he said, “I don’t want to make any big promises at this point, until I get there and meet people and get involved.”