Toggle Mobile Menu

I Can Do That!

Gary and Debbie MillerAfter graduating from ODU in 1972, Debbie Miller began her career as a graphic artist at Tidewater Community College. A Monarch at heart, Debbie joined the ODU staff in 1978 as Graphic Design Supervisor for the media center, now the Center for Learning and Teaching. While working full time, she completed a Master of Arts degree in 1989.

During her 27-year tenure at ODU, with university presidents from Al Rollins to Roseann Runte, Debbie saw much change. Her work evolved from making overhead transparencies to creating computer-generated work for international journals, textbooks and televised courses. She was awarded the CASE gold medal for her logo design and work on the USA-USSR Youth Summit broadcast live on PBS. From oceanographic limnography charts and rat brain cross-section illustrations, to political science maps, her portfolio is a diverse one! When asked about the best project she’d ever worked on, Debbie did not hesitate. “The coolest project was working with Dr. Dan Sonenshine on his definitive book Biology of Ticks, a massive two-volume set.” Debbie illustrated the 600-page books with pen and ink drawings.

For her ready smile, hearty laugh and enthusiastic assistance to faculty, Debbie was recognized as ODU’s Staff Member of the Year in 1990. Laughing, she said she thought the faculty stuffed the ballot box. Aside from the gifts and recognition, the best part for Debbie was the coveted and front-row parking spot, reserved for her for an entire year.

Art is still Debbie’s passion.

When Doug Greene, former chair of the ODU Institute of Humanities, started Crippen & Landru publishing company, he enlisted Debbie to design book covers. To date she has designed over 60 collector edition murder mystery book jackets. Retirement gives her the luxury of painting often. She enjoys painting en plein air with a local group of landscape artists. This past spring, Debbie’s work was featured at The Starving Artist Café in Norfolk.

Avid football supporters, Debbie and her husband, Gary Chiaverotti, can be seen at all home games, cheering on the Monarchs. Still, she always knew that she wanted to do more. After reading an article in Monarch magazine about a friend who included ODU in her estate plans, Debbie thought to herself, “I can do that.” With her husband in agreement, they met with their attorney to include ODU in their estate plans. Their gift to establish The Deborah L. Miller Scholarship will benefit students in the College of Arts and Letters who are majoring in graphic design or fine arts, two of Debbie’s passions.

For more information contact Barbara M. Henley, CFRE at 757-683-6563 or bhenley@odu.edu or Brett A. Smiley, CFRE at 757-683-4735 or bsmiley@odu.edu.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address