Kerrville, TX – Schreiner University will formally recognize Dr. Kiley Preston-Halfmann Miller as the 2020 Schreiner University Distinguished Alumnus on Saturday, Feb 27, during a recognition dinner at Schreiner’s Weston property. Traditionally, each inductee would be honored at the Tribute Banquet held each spring; however, due to Covid-19 restrictions each inductee will receive a private recognition dinner to celebrate their accomplishments.
Kiley Preston-Halfmann Miller, Ph.D. was born in Midland, TX. He was raised in a supportive family with his sister Whitney (Miller) Vela. In his early years, he was influenced heavily by his mother and father’s (Peggie Hoelscher and Max Miller) work ethic and his grandparent’s (Norbert and Lucille Halfmann) commitment to each other. He got involved in soccer at a very early age and still plays today. His early educational experiences were challenging, but he eventually discovered that he had a knack for math, science, and leadership through these educational and social experiences.
After graduating from Midland High School, he came to Schreiner College in 1995. He played soccer at Schreiner College for four years (1995-1999) and went through three majors. He was initially set on chemical engineering because “that is the only way he saw to make it,” but through internship experiences and mentorship from science faculty, Dr. Michael Looney, Dr. Fred Stevens, and Dr. Diana Comuzzie, decided that he wanted to pursue chemistry at the graduate level. He transitioned to chemistry and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2000. He continued his educational pursuits at the University of Texas at Austin receiving a Master of Arts in Analytical Chemistry in 2003 and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) receiving a Doctor of Philosophy in Bioengineering in 2005.
Dr. Miller went on to work as a Research Scientist in the Product Development Department of the Oral Care Division of Colgate – Palmolive Co. When asked to return to Schreiner University to teach by Dr. Looney, he jumped at the chance. Dr. Miller began as a faculty member in chemistry in 2006 and is currently a Professor of Chemistry. His awards and accolades include the Margaret Hossler Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008, Texas Academy of Science Fellow in 2013, Atkission Professor 2014-2017, and USDA E. Kika de la Garza Fellow in 2015. He has held roles at Schreiner University as the Robert A. Welch Chemistry Departmental Grant Director, Chemistry Department Chair, Science Department Chair, Interim Dean of the Robert B. Trull School of Science and Mathematics, Primary Investigator for the NSF ARI-R2 Grant, Director of the US Department of Education Developing Hispanic Serving Institution Grant, and currently is the Director for the US Department of Education Hispanic Serving Institution – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Grant. He is an active member of the American Chemical Society, American Association of Colleges and Universities, Council for Independent Colleges and Universities, Council for Undergraduate Research, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and Texas Hispanic Serving Institutions Consortium.
Professionally, yet outside of the academic realm, Dr. Miller has provided consultant services to James Avery Craftsman Inc., Diamond Shield Fortifier Inc., Perennial Waters LLC., SGA Advanced Solutions Inc.
He married his wife, Tish, in 2001. They have three children: Phoenix (18), Bhodey (15), and Dylan (12). Kiley spends his time on campus teaching and coordinating academic support programs. While off campus, he enjoys engaging the community on various regional boards and coaching youth soccer.
When asking him why he decided to come back to Schreiner University, he says, “to make an impact! If I can help in educating one student to go on to do great things, I have identified my vocation.” He goes on to say, “I want to be able to show students that you may come from meager beginnings, yet with perseverance and time, you can achieve everything that you had hoped for.”