Davidson College Reunion Weekend

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April 29, 2000

D. MIller
Distinguished Alumnus Award winner David Miller '56 flanked by President Vagt and Alumni Association President Andy McElwee.

Entering a Davidson class in mid-stream and making a place for yourself is no easy task. But when he transferred from East Tennessee State at the beginning of his junior year, David Miller quickly demonstrated the involvement and leadership which have marked his entire career. Within two short years he had sung in the Male Chorus, run on the cross-country team, worked on the Quips and Cranks staff, been elected president of both the Philanthropic Literary Society and the Honorary Fraternity Council, and been inducted into ODK. Such were the clues which suggested that Dave Miller, native of Johnson City, Tennessee, and Navy veteran of World War II, was destined for a larger stage. Further preparation would take four more years: traveling for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.)'s Board of World Missions and the Student Volunteer Movement, then attending Union Theological Seminary in Virginia.

Dave's calling was to serve God and his Church as an overseas missionary. At first that stage was to be the Belgian Congo/Republic of Congo/Zaire for 23 years. There he served as an evangelist, teacher, builder, school director, translator, defender of Congolese trapped in the tribal wars of 1959-61, director of the Evangelism Department of the Presbyterian Church in Congo, and twice Moderator of that church. He may be the only Davidson alumnus who has lived through two revolutions and had a bomb thrown into his home! Such proven leadership prompted his home church to give him an even larger stage‹first as Africa Field Secretary and then, for seventeen years, Liaison for Southern Africa, which included 11 countries. After twelve years residency in Lesotho, a new assignment sent him to Zimbabwe as Regional Coordinator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Project of Evangelism, Church Growth, and Theological Education in Southern Africa. Although retired in 1994, his calendar continues to be filled with travel, conferences, and speaking engagements on behalf of world missions. And step by step with him through every experience and the rearing of their three children has been his talented wife, Polly.

Because in the deepest sense of that Christian faith which you have so actively embodied for 50 years, your community has been the world; because you have been a tireless, effective spokesman for the Gospel in both its personal and social dimensions; because you have shared that Davidson-fed love of learning with hundreds of pastors and thousands of students across many countries; because you have shown uncommon bravery in dangerous situations and winsome humility in positions of authority; because you have loved your family as husband, father, grandfather, and, though separated by an ocean, faithfully remembered alma mater; because you have always been an advocate for the "least and lowliest" of the human family; and because you have demonstrated by your life and ministry the true meaning of Christian servanthood, the Davidson College Alumni Association proudly honors you, David Vines Miller, with the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service, on the occasion of the Class of 1950¹s 50th Reunion from Davidson, April 29, 2000.

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