While many alumni can point to a particular professor who was a positive influence during their academic career, Emily Miller Kimmey’s top three list includes a Student Affairs associate dean, Development director and University president.
“I loved being in college,” Miller Kimmey said. “Jill Benson (associate dean of students) probably had the most influence on my life in college. She was a great mentor, boss and now friend who taught me a lot about how to lead and be an effective manager. Then there was my professor, President Vic Boschini, whom I learned from in the classroom and through interactions at University functions. Finally, the first director of Development for Student Affairs, Carrie Dougherty, was my practicum supervisor and mentor. I learned more from her than any textbook, and as soon as I met her I knew I wanted to do fund raising.”
After finishing her bachelor’s degree in public relations in 1999 and her master’s degree in college student personnel administration in 2001, Miller Kimmey was hired by the United Way. She works in St. Louis and is responsible for employee and corporate giving and the Women’s Leadership Giving Initiative, which recognizes women who give $1,000 or more per year to the United Way. During the past year, Miller Kimmey was responsible for more than $11 million of the St. Louis campaign, a campaign which raised its goal of $65.5 million.
Miller Kimmey has a habit of meeting her own goals. While at Illinois State, she took full advantage of a myriad of participation opportunities, including serving as a student ambassador and Preview guide. She worked in Campus Dining Services during her freshman and sophomore years and as a peer advisor as an upperclassman. She interned in Events and the Office of Student Life and was a member of the Wesley Foundation and the Public Relations Student Society of America. Miller Kimmey was a Pi Beta Phi sorority member, and many of her continuing friends were fellow Greek members and sorority sisters.
One of the most unique opportunities to come Miller Kimmey’s way was participating in the first LeaderShape Illinois State, a program to shape student leaders through vision, teamwork and integrity. Selected students attend an intensive six-day program and are expected to implement what they learn in their campus, community or work environment. Participants develop or enhance strong communication, team-building and leadership skills throughout the program and in the next year when they are teamed with a vision mentor. Miller Kimmey served as an intern after she completed the program.
“LeaderShape is one of the best leadership development programs out there, and I want to see it continue,” Miller Kimmey said. “It was the first place I thought to give back to upon graduating.” Other areas that have gained her monetary support were the Senior Class Challenge, Run for Academic Success (RASE), Student Affairs, Student Affairs Annual Fund and Alumni Relations.
“One of my mentors, Rick Lewis, wrote and asked for support for RASE, and I chose to support Student Affairs because that’s where I feel the most connected to the University,” she said. “I value my classroom experiences, but I believe a lot of my growing and learning took place through my extracurricular activities.”
Miller Kimmey met her husband Jay at a Gallery Crawl sponsored by the Young Friends of the St. Louis Art Museum, and they married in June of 2004. He is an attorney specializing in labor and employment law, and he and Miller Kimmey live in the city with two cats. They will add to their numbers with their first child expected in April. Miller Kimmey is involved in the Association of Fundraising Professionals, advises the Pi Beta Phi chapter at Washington University, participates in the Pi Beta Phi alumni club and is a Court Appointed Special Advocate.
“I’d love to find ways to help Illinois State tap into my peers for giving,” Miller Kimmey said. “We can give back, probably not much at this point in our lives, but we can give back.” Miller Kimmey certainly gives back to Illinois State, both monetarily and with her time and energy. She serves on the Illinois State University Alumni Association Board and makes the trip back to campus four or five times a year.