updated May 2018
Alton Miller biographical highlights:
Back to Alton Miller Home Page
See also, (1) chronological version – (2) C.V.
(3) Short intro  – (4) One-page bio
In the classroom Currently,
In 2005 I was appointed Associate Dean of the School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago , a position I held for seven years – my reconnaissance into senior administration, from my tenured position as associate professor. My M.F.A. is from Goddard College – that's the terminal degree in my field. My thesis was a novel based on my experiences as press secretary to Chicago mayor Harold Washington, titled Chicago Power and Light. I started as an adjunct in 1990, then full time since 1999; I currently teach courses in Public Relations Writing, Semiotics, and Civil Rights in Chicago. I've also authored the proposal and served as Principal Investigator for a $1.5 million DOD grant, "Crisis Communications Research Project," studying the application of social media in crisis prevention and response.

Political career highlights:
  • Press Secretary, Speechwriter, Mayor Harold Washington, 1985-1987.
  • Political Consultant, Speechwriter, Mayor W. Wilson Goode (Philadelphia), 1989-90
  • Communications Director, Carol Moseley-Braun U.S. Senate primary campaign, 1991-1992
Campaigning with Harold
  • Communications Consultant, United Auto Workers, Caterpillar contract action, 1993-1998
  • Communications Consultant, Chicago City Treasurer Miriam Santos, 1993-2000
  • Campaign Manager, Spokesman, Miriam Santos for Illinois Attorney General, 1997-1998, and Miriam Santos for City Treasurer, 1998-99

Click to read
Writing career highlights: Published books
  • Author/Editor, Climbing a Great Mountain: Selected Speeches of Mayor Harold Washington, introduction by Coretta Scott King, 1988
  • Author, Harold Washington: The Mayor, The Man , 1989
  • Coauthor (with William Warfield), William Warfield: My Music & My Life, 1991
  • Author, Chicago Power and Light (unpublished),

Click to read

Media career highlights: 60+ articles
  • Copy boy (sic), Washington Post, 1962
  • Drama Editor/Critic, Washington Calendar Magazine and Washington Star, Dec. 1976 - Aug. 1980
  • Editor and writer of "The Front Page" (politics, media, arts) section of Chicago Times Magazine, 1989-90
  • Author, CD-ROM presentation for the Illinois Arts Alliance, "The Arts in Illinois are a Billion-Dollar Business," 1996
  • Culture Editor, In These Times , 1996
  • Author, lobbying handbook for the Illinois Arts Alliance, "Democracy in Action," 2000
  • Editor, special Columbia College issues of StreetWise, Fall 2000 and Spring 2001
  • Freelance writer, Chicago and Illinois arts, media and politics: American Theatre, Chicago Tribune, Illinois Politics, Illinois Issues, In These Times, Newsday, etc. 1989-present

Arts career highlights: theater and dance
  • Press & Public Relations, Washington Theater Club: 1966-68
  • Technical director, set designer, Houghton Lake Playhouse, Houghton Lake, Mich.: Summer 1966
  • General Manager, Wayside Theater, Middletown, Va.: Summer 1968
  • PR & Marketing Director, Associate Producing Director, Arena Stage: 1968-76
  • (Drama Critic, Washington Calendar Magazine and Washington Star, 1976-78)
  • Managing Director, Washington Ballet : 1978-83
  • General Director, Maria Tallchief's Chicago City Ballet: 1983-84
  • Marketing Communications Consultant, lecturer, arts advocate for Illinois Arts Alliance, 1995-present

Julie Miles and Hillary Canary in Choo-San Goh's Synonyms (1981)
Photo by James E. Strickland

Academic career highlights:
  • Columbia College
      Marketing Communication Department, part-time faculty 1990-1999
      full-time 1999-2005, 2012-present
      awarded tenure February 2005
      Associate Dean, School of Media Arts, 2005-2012
  • Smithsonian Institution, guest lecturer, instructor, 1982
  • Georgetown University summer associates program, visiting lecturer, art history, 1978

Some weeks after 7/17/43

Born July 17, 1943. I lived and worked in Washington, D.C. until 1983, in Chicago 1983-present.
Family: Daughter Julie born 2/4/67; Daughter Victoria born 11/24/07; Daughter Nina born 1/21/11.
Current and recent civic activities: Board of Directors, Community Renewal Society ... Community Media Workshop ... Author, Midwest Authors Society, , Harold Washington Archives and Collection, Advisory Committee of the Chicago Public Library, formerly Steering Committee, People for Better TV/Chicago, formerly Board of Trustees, Protestants for the Common Good... member, National Writer's Union, UAW Local 1981... Hon. Discharge, U.S.M.C. ... Listed, Who's Who in America, 45th edition (as ballet manager).

Where'd you get that name?

Fall 2017: Son-in-law John, Dominika, Nina (7), Victoria (10), Dad, Julie, granddaughter Margaret

Fall 2017: Remembering Harold Washington, with Tavis Smiley