Ryan Miller leads UA Little Rock Alumni Association with community in mind
March 12-18, 2018
By Becca Bona
With a broad smile and contagious zeal, Ryan Miller sits in his office at the Bailey Alumni Center on the UA Little Rock campus, planning his week. Helping to organize the upcoming Taste of Little Rock fundraiser currently takes up a lot of his time, but he still has plans to infuse some new energy and ideas into the association, as well.
“We’re really trying to build a lifelong connection for our students, faculty, and friends, and allow for people to invest back into the institution that had an impact on them,” said Miller. “It makes a lot of sense for past students and even current future students to join the Trojan family.”
At the end of 2017, Miller became the director of the association, and since then has hit the ground running, learning the ropes and getting a feel for the community. A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Miller has undergraduate degrees in business and management, as well as a Master’s in higher education.
Originally from Russellville, Miller harbors some serious pride for the Natural State and has been settling into life in Little Rock quite nicely. “When I got the offer to come here, I really wanted to be a part of this institution because of the vision that the new Chancellor has,” he said. “Plus, there’s an excitement of really having an impact on the state of Arkansas and on Central Arkansas.”
Miller brings the experience of living in college towns his entire life to the table, along with a drive to make as much of an impact as possible, not only for UA Little Rock alumni, but for the community at large.
“I feel like sometimes people take it for granted that we have a university in our backyard. I know Little Rock is the biggest city in the state of Arkansas, and it’s the capital, but there’s been a lot of discussion about how we can make this more of a college town,” he said.
Miller plans to be as open and outward as he can, not only with alumni members but also the community at large, hoping to intertwine UA Little Rock even more with the capital city.
“I think one thing people can remember is that UA Little Rock is here and it’s here for them. It is a state institution and we’re here to support our citizens,” he said.
For instance, Miller hopes that interested citizens will come to The Taste of Little Rock, a fundraising event that will take place on April 26 at the Jack Stephens Center. Forty restaurants, most of them local, have signed on to make the evening fun for all. Plus, participants have the knowledge that their money goes straight toward making a difference.
“That’s one of the best things that I’ll say about the association, that event raises funds exclusively for scholarships,” Miller explained. “Even within our membership model right now – currently 100 percent of life membership dues go directly to scholarships. … [S]o we’re literally putting our money where our mouth is – we’re trying to impact current students.”
Beyond the fun, life-size events, like attending basketball games, checking out the art exhibits at the new Windgate Center or attending Taste of Little Rock, Miller hopes to get alumni involved in other ways, as well.
“I think Coleman Creek here on campus is really pretty. I can hopefully organize an Alumni Clean Up Day soon,” he said.
In his spare time, Miller enjoys running and recently completed the Little Rock Half Marathon. “I’ve been looking forward to getting involved in the running community here,” he said, “so far, I’ve been working with those out of GO! Running.”
Beyond running, Miller enjoys spending time outdoors – “One of the best things about Arkansas is being outside.”
If you haven’t said hello, stop by the Bailey Center at UA Little Rock, pop in and introduce yourself.
After joining the UA Little Rock Alumni Association as director at the end of last year, Ryan Miller has hit the ground running, brainstorming ways to intersect the community and association at the forefront of his agenda. (Photo by Becca Bona)