Celebration of Scholarship - April 24, 2013
|12:30 PM - 1:30 PM||Price Auditorium|
"Writing Your Own Story"
Abstract: Ben Miller’s presentation is entitled, “Writing Your Own Story.” It will be a journey into perseverance, highlighting the trials and tribulations Miller has faced in the last two decades, transforming him from a standout in Naval Intelligence, with a security clearance two levels above Top Secret, to a man who is utterly broken and barely able to leave his own home. The Department of Veterans Affairs compensates Miller as a 100% disabled veteran due to a series of medical conditions, including nerve and tendon damage, Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Miller has struggled ever since he left the military nearly 20 years ago, more than doubling his body weight, dealing with alcoholism and facing daily attacks that neither his VA doctors nor his private doctors have been able to successfully treat. Yet, through it all, Miller has found the strength to earn his bachelor's degree and accomplish his dream of becoming a published author with over 500 articles and two hardcover books under his belt. He has also founded a movement that has helped food banks across America feed millions of hungry men, women and children.
The Ben Miller story is filled with great love, painful heartache, tremendous failures, and grand successes. Miller readily shares his story, holding nothing back, in the hopes that others will learn from his mistakes and draw inspiration from his struggles. His is a life few people would willingly choose and yet, despite his disabilities and the obstacles thrown in his way, Miller is the proverbial master of his fate, the Captain of his soul.
Biography: Ben Miller, a native of Nazareth, Pennsylvania is a disabled Navy veteran, noted author, founder of the national Donate My Weight campaign, and a proud 2001 graduate of Lock Haven University. Prior to his years at Lock Haven, Miller served overseas in Naval Intelligence, working with a reconnaissance squadron before his disabilities forced him to accept an early honorable discharge.
Miller earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications with a Minor in Journalism/Mass Communications from Lock Haven. Following his graduation, he worked in a series of business management and consulting positions before assuming the role as a leader in corporate finance with Dun and Bradstreet. He also penned a weekly historical column for Exit Zero magazine and consulted on three other publications.
Miller's disabilities continued to grow in severity over the years until, in November of 2007, he was no longer able to work full-time. Miller refused to "Go gentle into that good night," in the words of Welsh Poet, Dylan Thomas, and he continued with his writing. His first book, The First Resort: Fun, Sun, Fire and War in Cape May, America's Original Seaside Town was published in 2009. The book was named "One of the Top 10 Coffee Table Books of 2009" by the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the first edition sold out within six months.
The book was also the subject of a 2012 museum exhibit by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities, and Miller was named Guest Curator of their Carriage House Museum. Miller maintains the honorary title of Historical Editor with Exit Zero Publishing and continues to consult on other books and projects, including an appearance on the Travel Channel series, "Ghost Stories." His second book, Cape May Moments , is scheduled for release in summer of 2013, and a children's book is also in the works.
In addition to his writing, back in January of 2008, Miller created the concept of pairing weight loss with raising donations for food banks across America. Miller's “Donate My Weight” campaign has raised nearly 30,000 pounds of donations for the food banks, and he has appeared on a series of national television news segments, morning shows, and the Rachael Ray Show, to raise awareness for America’s food banks. Donate My Weight was also the inspiration for other programs that followed it, like the "Pound for Pound Challenge" sponsored by NBC's hit reality show, The Biggest Loser and smaller community events held around the country. Miller, an avid volunteer, has also served on the Board of Directors for the nonprofit organizations WRRS Radprin and the Usos Foundation.