April 19, 2011

Greenhouse manager honored for teaching support

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- John Miller is the winner of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Excellence Through Commitment award as 2011 Outstanding Civil Service Teaching Support Employee.

Miller, of Murphysboro, is greenhouse manager for the College of Agricultural Sciences. He has managed and guided operations at the research greenhouses since 2007.

Chancellor Rita Cheng will recognize Miller and other Excellence award recipients during a reception at 5:30 p.m. today (April 19) at Morris Library. Miller will receive a certificate and a designated parking space for the next year.

Miller is an SIUC alumnus, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in plant and soil science in 1997 with an emphasis on general horticulture, vegetable production, turf management, landscaping and soil fertility.

His positive attitude, hard work keeping the greenhouses clean and in good condition and ready willingness to help students and faculty are among the many positive characteristics that earned Miller the praise of Brian P. Klubek, chair of the plant, soil and agricultural systems department, in a letter recommending Miller for the award. Klubek notes that Miller is responsible for the horticulture and forestry greenhouses and is also involved in the maintenance and landscaping for the Horticulture and Agronomy Research Centers.

Yet, despite many work obligations, Klubek said Miller is involved in the community as well, securing funding to create the first Carbondale Community Vegetable Gardens and participating in formation of the Shawnee Food Network. The network evolved into the Neighborhood Coop store with Miller serving for several years on the board and as its chair. Miller was also involved in the development of the Carbondale New School playground and in designing landscapes for homes.

“John has always been recognized for his friendly, cooperative nature and has been a positive influence on both the University and Carbondale communities,” Klubek wrote.

Jarrett Nehring, director of University Farms, gives Miller kudos for the “extreme care” with which he coordinates research space and insures all research plants are cared for and that the greenhouses are well cleaned and maintained, thus assuring the validity and success of research there. Nehring said Miller’s hard work keeps everything running smoothly and efficiently and that Miller even checks plants during his days off.

Afton Salata, teaching greenhouse manager, also praised Miller for his dedication, for communicating well with those around him and for sharing his expertise with others.

Miller’s career also includes working as a landscape designer and owner of Brown Arrow Landscape in Murphysboro, as a lab technician, greenhouse manager, landscape gardener, horticulturist, urban garden coordinator and assistant superintendent/groundskeeper and at SIUC as an assistant lecturer.