When William Miller was in trouble with his aunt, she made him sit with her and watch the news on television. The intended punishment was the beginning of Miller’s passion for political science.
A first-generation college student, Miller didn’t think much about college until his senior year of high school. Enrolling at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham was a bit of an afterthought. But his interest in political science led him to leadership positions there, including president of the student body.
When Miller transferred to Oregon State, he knew that had to continue.
“People say there’s nothing good in politics, but I’ve been trying to hold fast to my morals and values,” he says.
In his senior year, Miller served as a senator for Associated Students of Oregon State University (ASOSU), president of his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, and a leadership liaison for the Native American Longhouse.
Miller, who is Cherokee and Blackfoot, says his proudest accomplishment is working with ASOSU, the university and the city of Corvallis to change Christopher Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day.
“It was standing room only in the Native American Longhouse as the proclamation was signed,” he remembers. “I felt pure joy to be able to bring about justice to a historically wronged community. I was an agent of change, but the end result wasn’t for me. It was for my community.”