Dr. Nancy Sonneveldt Miller, who is dean for the social sciences and a professor of education at Hope College, has received the seventh annual "Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award" from the Michigan American Council on Education (ACE) Network for Women in Higher Education.
She was honored on Tuesday, June 10, during the network's annual conference, held at Michigan State University in East Lansing.
The award honors Michigan women who have distinguished themselves by providing outstanding leadership to women in their institutions, in their profession and in society at large. The award recognizes groundbreaking work on behalf of women that is outside the scope of the nominee's formal faculty or staff responsibilities. Honorees have distinguished themselves as advocates for women and catalysts for change.
Honorees are chosen from nominations made by the presidents or chief operating officers of member colleges and universities throughout the state. The Michigan ACE Network presently includes 45 member institutions, including public and private and two-year and four-year.
Miller is retiring at the end of June after serving on the Hope faculty for 40 years. She joined the faculty in 1968, and has served as dean for the social sciences since 1985.
The departments within her academic division include communication; economics, management and accounting; education; kinesiology; political science; psychology; and sociology and social work. She is also responsible for the college's CASA (Children's After School Achievement), PATH (Program for the Academically Talented at Hope), Project TEACH (Teachers Entering A Career through Hope) and Upward Bound programs, all of which are designed for local school children, as well as the intercollegiate athletic program and the CarlFrostCenter for Social Science Research.
Miller has served the college in a variety of ways, including as interim provost during 2001-02 and as a faculty representative to the Board of Trustees. She chaired the Hope committee that developed the college's MarthaMillerCenter for Global Communication, which opened in the fall of 2005. In 1995 she delivered the college's Baccalaureate sermon.
She was integral to the development of Hope's maternity/parental leave policy. She has also encouraged recruiting women, and takes pride in the fact that 50 percent of the faculty and administrative staff positions in the social sciences are held by women. Overall, at least 40 percent of Hope's faculty is female, up from less than 20 percent when she joined the faculty.
Miller is on the national board of Bread for the World. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees for Western Theological Seminary since 2001. For more than 30 years, she and her husband Phil have coordinated the Christmas Project for Bethany Christian Services. She has been involved with the "Breakfast with Baby" outreach program at Fourth Reformed Church since the program began.
Her past community involvement includes three terms on the Board of Education of the Holland Christian Schools. She has been an elder at Christ Memorial Church, and has served the Reformed Church in America in a variety of ways, including as an at-large representative with the General Synod Council.
She and Phil, who is a past member of the college's Board of Trustees, received the "Family Award" from the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area in 2001 and an Outstanding Volunteer Award from the West Michigan Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2004. She received the third annual Lakeshore ATHENA Award in October of 2007.
Miller is a 1962 Hope graduate. She holds a master's degree from the University of Michigan and a doctorate from Michigan State University. Prior to joining the Hope faculty she had taught at the elementary and junior-high level in the Wyoming Public Schools.
She and Phil have three grown children, Christopher, Derek and Melinda, and two grandchildren.