MORGANTOWN – Taunja Willis-Miller’s one-year term as newly elected secretary of the West Virginia University Board of Governors began on July 1, marking the latest chapter in her service of the state and university she holds dear.
“I am a Mountaineer through and through,” Willis-Miller told The West Virginia Record. “The appointment presents a unique opportunity to give back to the university, which gave me an excellent education and laid the foundation for a successful career.”
In addition to her one-year term as secretary, Willis-Miller said she is “actively engaged in the work of the Board of Governors” and she participates in as many activities at WVU as she can.
A native of Logan, Willis-Miller has lived in West Virginia her entire life.
“My favorite part of living and working in the state are its people,” she said. “And I love the hills.”
Under the board’s bylaws, Willis-Miller said the secretary is responsible for records, such as notices and minutes of board meetings. However, she said the board’s bylaws allow for delegation to an assistant, “and the president’s office actually handles things like notices and minutes of board meetings.”
Willis-Miller said her work experience will help her in her role as secretary.
“A good bit of my professional work involves organizational matters for nonprofits and governmental entities, so being secretary is a good fit,” she said.
In addition, Willis-Miller said her nearly 40 years of experience in public finance and representing governmental entities and nonprofits, together with experience in state government, should help her contribute to the board.
“Much of my professional life has focused on improving the state, whether working on bond issues for educational or health care facilities or serving as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources,” Willis-Miller said. “I think this commitment to the state and to the university played a role in the appointment.”
According to biographical information provided by WVU, Willis-Miller is managing member of the Jackson Kelly PLLC’s Bridgeport, Martinsburg, Morgantown and Wheeling offices and practices with the health care and finance practice group. Willis-Miller also works in the areas of economic development.
Willis-Miller served as West Virginia’s first Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources, from 1988 through 1990.
Willis-Miller received both her undergraduate and law degrees from West Virginia University.
Through her community service endeavors, Willis-Miller serves on the loan committee of the Center for Rural Health and was the recipient of the 2011 Rural Health Leadership Award. She serves on the advisory board for the Morgantown bank of Branch Banking and Trust Co., on the boards of directors of Arts Monongahela, the Monongalia County Child Advocacy Center and Imagine West Virginia, and as a member of the Cheat Lake Rotary Club.