Keith Graber Miller has led nine SST units; seen the Goshen College Bible and Religion Department through highs (it had 60 majors and minors in 2008) and lows (there are currently two majors); and won the title of “GC’s toughest prof” in the 2019 competition held by The Record’s Funnies page. After 35 years in front of the classroom, Goshen College’s longest-serving professor will retire at the end of this year.Graber Miller, professor of Bible and religion, started working for the college in 1987. Over three decades later, he is still here because of his love for his students and the unique opportunity he gets to help them grow and learn through the Study-Service Term (SST) program.
Graber Miller has led nine SST units with his wife, Ann.
“Doing SST allows you to have this rich international component to your teaching that is rare at an undergraduate school,” he said. “The amount of growth you see in students living in an international context, living with a family, navigating that territory, it’s really remarkable.”
On campus, Graber Miller teaches courses in religion, ethics and sexuality.
Liam Minielly, a first year peace, justice and conflict studies major from Kingston, Ontario, has two classes with Graber Miller this semester and loves both.
“He’s eloquent, engaging, and gives an honest perspective on topics,” said Minielly.
For Eli Reimer, a senior Bible and Religion major, Graber Miller is part of the reason they chose to come to GC.
In a previous article for the Funnies page, Reimer advised students that to survive finals, they should heed the rule, “Don’t take a class with Keith Graber Miller.” Despite this, Reimer said, “I regularly recommend Keith’s classes to other students.”
“[His classes] explore a lot of big issues and questions about life, and everyone can benefit from learning about that,” Reimer explained. “His classes are opportunities to learn different frameworks for figuring out life’s big questions, and they give you room to explore that with other people.”
Graber Miller built the Bible and religion department from a small program in 1993 to its peak of 60 majors and minors in 2008. He leaves it a much smaller program, but he is hopeful younger professors will move the department into a new era.
“I think it’s so important for us to understand what’s happening with religion,” said Graber Miller. “I fear that we’re becoming more ignorant and not knowing as much as we need to know about how religion does function in the world.”
What does Graber Miller look forward to after retiring? He recently became a grandparent and looks forward to filling that role while having more time to travel internationally and be with his family.
He will work at Found, the store he co-owns with his wife in downtown Goshen, which sells “a keenly curated collection of mid-century modern and international art and artifacts.” Graber Miller is also considering writing a book on sexuality.
Goshen College has still not officially announced whether they will be looking to hire someone to fill Graber Miller’s position.
According to Minielly, if someone is hired, one thing is certain: “His replacement will have some pretty big shoes to fill.”