Patricia Miller endowment established at Northwest

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SENATOBIA, MS (06/12/2017) The Patricia Miller Endowment was established by the Northwest Mississippi Community College Division of Natural Sciences, under the leadership of the director, Robin Robison. Family members, friends, and colleagues also contributed to the endowment.

A native of Oxford, Miller's higher education began at The University of Mississippi where she studied for three and a half years before transferring to the University of Tennessee at Martin. She received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from UT-Martin. She received her master's degree in Biological Sciences from Mississippi State University. Her master's thesis was on "Foraging Ecology of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker," an endangered woodpecker in the Southeast.

Prior to coming to Northwest, she was the curator for the Mississippi Entomological Museum at Mississippi State University and was also an adjunct assistant professor at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Her interest in spiders began almost 40 years ago, and her massive spider collection of over 140,000 specimens representing over 600 species from Mississippi alone is presently housed at Ole Miss.

In her retirement, she continues to publish on spiders. Her most recent submission is on a genus of wolf spider, "The Genus Trochosa in North America," coauthored with a colleague in Canada.

Miller began teaching at Northwest in August 1989 and retired in 2014, after 25 years of teaching biology on the Senatobia campus. When she began teaching, Bobby King, her division director, told her that he wanted the non-major students to have a consistent and excellent experience in biology and the labs. She taught nine sections of the same lab every week with a motto that endured until her 25th year - "Every class, every lab deserves the very best."

Miller's other interests include genealogy, photography, gardening (flowers and vegetables), and her church. Her son, William, lives in Baltimore where he is a lead computer game designer. Her partner, Gail Stratton, is also a biologist and a recently ordained minister.

Her desire after retirement was to "do" biology rather than teach it. Immediately after retirement, Miller took a course in mycology, the study of fungi, at Ole Miss. She has collected, measured, photographed and identified over 1,000 specimens of fungi and is uploading them to a worldwide, searchable database. Her collection will be deposited in The University of Mississippi Pullen Herbarium.

For more information about the Northwest Foundation, contact Sybil Canon, associate vice president of Development and Special Projects at 662-560-1103 or e-mail

Pictured: The Patricia Miller Endowment has been established at Northwest Mississippi Community College by the Division of Natural Sciences. Miller taught biology at Northwest for 25 years. (Photo submitted)