Alton Miller Alton Miller has served as Associate Dean of the School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago (2005-2012), where he is also an associate professor, teaching writing and political communications. His career includes public relations in arts, politics and the media.
Arts: Mr. Miller came to Chicago as a ballet manager. Formerly PR director of the Washington Theater Club (1965-68) and associate producing director of Arena Stage (1968-76) in his native Washington, D.C., and managing director of the Washington Ballet (1978-83), he was named general director of Maria Tallchief's Chicago City Ballet in 1983. A decade later he created brochures and CDs, and was featured on a statewide speaking tour to articulate the economic impact of the arts, as a consultant for the Illinois Arts Alliance.
Politics: In 1984 he changed careers when he was appointed press secretary to Chicago mayor Harold Washington, a position he held until the mayor's death in November 1987. As a communications consultant he worked with then Senate candidate Carol Moseley-Braun, Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode, Chicago City Treasurer Miriam Santos, the Illinois Arts Alliance, the Chicago Board of Education, and for United Auto Workers in its contract dispute with Caterpillar, Inc., in Decatur and Peoria, Illinois.
Media: A freelance writer, and the author of three nonfiction works, including the Chicago best-seller Harold Washington: The Mayor, The Man (1989), Mr. Miller served as theater writer and drama critic for Washington Calendar Magazine (1976-1980), and as the replacement first-nighter for the Washington Star, during David Richards' sabbatical. (1978). As critic for Chicago Times Magazine (1989-1990), his beat was arts, politics and the media. His other two published books cover politics and the arts: Climbing a Great Mountain and the biography of concert singer William Warfield. His articles, arts/politics commentary, have appeared in numerous publications and online, including his own website at www.altonmiller.com.
Academics: Mr. Miller served as Associate Dean of the School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago (2005-2012), where he began his teaching career as an adjunct professor in 1990. Following his appointment as Director of the Public Relations Studies program, he was granted tenure in 2005. He was the principal investigator for a $1.5 million DOD grant, "Crisis Communications Research Project," studying the potential applications for social media in crisis prevention and response. Also in 2005 he was awarded his M.F.A. in Writing by Goddard College in Vermont. His thesis was a political novel, Chicago Power & Light.
Family: He has a daughter, Julie, from his first marriage, and a granddaughter, Margaret. A widower in 2005, he remarried (Dominika) and is the father of Victoria (born 2007) and Nina (2011).