For the next 30 years she was a familiar and authoritative member and leader of various Merck research teams. Author or coauthor of more than 40 research papers, she earned a national reputation in her field, and today, even in retirement, she continues as a member of leading scientific and research associations, several of whom have recognized her with major awards and organizational leadership responsibilities. Her research in bacteriology and pharmacology has been credited with leading to development of many pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics used in chemotherapy.

But “Kitty”—as she is known not only to friends and alumni but also to MC president “Erv” Rokke, board chair “Prill” Hurd, and other board and faculty members—never really left Moravian. Immersion in what has been described as a distinguished lifelong career and “commitment to alleviating human illness and suffering” in no way diminished what was to be a similar lifelong devotion to her alma mater. Her Sharp and Merck labs in New Jersey and North Wales, Pennsylvania, were barely more than an hour or two from Bethlehem, and Kitty returned regularly to the campus. An enthusiastic participant in alumnae and related programs, she served as president of the Moravian College Alumnae Association for four years. In 1954—the year MCW and Moravian College merged—she was named to the unified college’s Board of Trustees where she has worked with similar acclaim for half a century.

Moravian alumni also recognized her for both her accomplishments in the pharmaceutical industry and her participation in alumni and other campus activities by awarding her the Moravian Medallion of Merit in 1961. The Alumni Association followed this recognition with presentation of the Comenius Alumni Award in 1968, citing achievement in her chosen profession—pharmaceutical research.

Kitty responds modestly to questions about her commitment to Moravian. Asked to describe her work as a trustee, she stresses only that, of the scores of meetings held since her appointment, “I think I may have missed one.” (Illness or an accident may have detained her on one occasion.)

But the citation for the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities she received in 1998 states her contributions a bit more enthusiastically. It praises her for showing a “consistent and inspiring generosity of leadership, time, and personal resources to Moravian College.” A fellow trustee, Lyn Trodahl Chynoweth ’68, agrees. Since talking to Kitty for the first time in 1991, Lyn said, “I have experienced her passion for the College, her passion for students, her passion for lifelong learning, and her passion for life itself. What an inspiration and a role model!” President Rokke describes her as an “institution within an institution—it’s simply impossible to imagine a fall or spring trustee meeting without her in the boardroom. For half a century she has set the standard for steadfastness and stewardship on the Board of Trustees—if only I had half her energy!”

Other trustees stress that Kitty’s ability to relate to students and assess their concerns, hopes, and reaction to changing campus activities, curricula, and educational and administrative policy has been especially valuable and influential in board decisions. Her skill and experience as classroom teacher enabled her to respond effectively to later challenges in her research labs and in the boardroom. Of her several career roles as a classroom teacher, bacteriology lab leader, and college trustee, Kitty says she would chose to be characterized as a teacher.

“Even in industry,” she explains, “I was teaching each technician the procedures to use, how to and where to find things, and encouraging them to perform to the best of their potential, and making suggestions or discussing possible ways to improve the way to accomplish our aims.”

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Here is Kitty Miller in the 1938 Benigna yearbook—bending over a student in the front row, doing just what her students say she always did best.

“She kept running up and down the steps of our tiered classroom-lab poking into the progress each of us was making as we dissected the particular organism under study,” said Betty Adams Roach ’43, the author of this article, in an aside. “I recognized a truly driven woman totally engrossed in the work at hand and completely immersed in her students’ efforts to succeed.”

“Little did I realize in September of 1939 as I sat in Miss Miller’s freshman biology class listening to her lecture that our paths would continue to cross for 65 years,” said Grace Shaner Schuchardt ’43.