History and Mission

Miller_003The John William Miller Fellowship Fund was established by Miller’s friends and former students to advance the understanding of his thinking. Over time, the Fund grew in scope, evolving into the John William Miller Society (JWMS). The JWMS has helped support a number of book and essay projects on Miller. More recently, the JWMS grew again, to incorporate a prizes division, devoted to awarding outstanding essays and books either about Miller’s philosophy, or about the thinkers and themes most important to him or essential for understanding his work.

A Brief History

At its inception the Fund, informally founded in the 1960s, was a loose collection of former students who brought their ideas and resources together to honor Miller’s career at Williams College. (Most active in initial stages of the collective efforts that would become the Miller Fund was one member of the Williams College class of 1935, Barry S. Wolff, and three from the class of 1936, Philip A. Brégy, George P. Brockway, and Robert H. Elias.)  In 1960 a sum of money was set aside to support the John William Miller Prize in Philosophy which took the form of a book award to the best student of philosophy in a given Williams graduating class. It was not until Miller’s death in 1978, however, that the Fund took on a more definitive structure. At that time Brockway coordinated the collection of materials and funds necessary to achieve the larger end of propagating Miller’s thought and establishing his reputation as a philosopher in the American tradition. In 1984, those resources were formally organized under the aegis of Williams College.



The main resource made available by the Fellowship Fund is the Miller Papers, a collection of Miller’s writings ranging from his undergraduate essays to his last items of correspondence. Housed in Stetson Hall of Williams College and overseen by the college Archivist, the Miller Papers are composed largely of the literary estate that Miller left in the hands of Brockway. This original collection of materials has been supplemented by numerous contributions from family members, friends, colleagues, and former students. It is from the Miller Papers that the materials for the five posthumous volumes of Miller’s writings were drawn.

For years, the Fellowship Fund supported the sabbatical research of a host of Miller fellows. Their discussions and eventual body of work led to the establishment of the John William Miller Society, which now helps to organize discussions and the dissemination of research both on Miller, and on the ideas that facilitate a better grasp of his system—for example as they appear in American Pragmatism, German Idealism, and French Existentialism, and in different philosophies of technology, education, and communication. The JWMS oversees the Fund’s travel stipends, conference panels, and essay and book prizes for work related to Miller’s thought.

Advisory Committee

In order to oversee the management and distribution of these funds, the Fellowship Fund has an Advisory Committee whose members include family, former students of Miller’s, professional academics, the librarian of Williams College, and the president of Williams College. George P. Brockway (1916–2001) acted as the first chair of the committee. In 1999 he was succeeded by Joseph P. Fell. Michael J. McGandy became the third chair of the committee in 2012.

Committee Co-chairs
Michael J. McGandy, Ph.D., Senior Editor, Cornell University Press..

Katie Terezakis, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology.

Committee Members
Douglas Brockway

Vincent M. Colapietro, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of the Humanities, Center for the Humanities, University of Rhode Island.
Lisa Conathan, Ph.D., Head of Special Collections, Williams College Libraries.

Robert S. Corrington, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophical Theology, Drew Theological School.

Peter Fosl.

Jonathan Miller, Ph.D., Director of Libraries, Williams College.

Lawrence Miller.

Gary Steiner, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Bucknell University

Stephen Tyman, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Committee Members Emeritus
George P. Brockway, former President and Chairman of W. W. Norton & Company.

Joseph P. Fell, Ph.D., John Howard Harris Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus , Bucknell University.

Eugene Miller, former Editor and Publisher of the Evening Sentinel in Ansonia, CT.

Paul J. W. Miller, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus , University of Colorado.

Katie Nash, MLIS, CA, University Archivist and Head of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives.

Hugh G. Nevin, M. Div., Ed.D., Chaplain, Union College, Schenectady NY, Retired.

David Pilachowski, former Director of Libraries, Williams College.

Beth J. Singer, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Emerita , Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.

S. Cushing Strout, Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters, Emeritus, Cornell University.