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Posted on: 12/22/2006

Melvin N. Miles, Jr., is an educator, band director, counselor, mentor, colleague, surrogate father, and most of all, friend. In his 34 years at Morgan State University, he has touched more lives than he’s probably aware...

He probably wouldn’t recall this, but he was directly responsible for my decision to change my major from Political Science to Music Education. During my freshman year at Morgan, I was enrolled in a music appreciation course to fulfill a humanities elective requirement, and one of our “assignments” was to interview a professional in the area of music. Naturally, I chose “Miles” and during that interview, he did more than just answer my questions - he really changed my life. Up until that point, my goal was to graduate from college, enter law school, make lots of money, and naturally happiness was sure to follow. However, when he spoke of the opportunities the field of education offers in making a difference in the lives of students, I then realized the mark of a successful career was not in the size of my bank account, but the difference I could make in the lives of others.

From that point, Miles has been a tremendous influence in my life. He has guided through a successful career as a classroom teacher/band director, taught me a lot about the “business” of running a band program by allowing me to be a member of his staff for the past ten years, and he has taught me/guided me through the lessons of life. I’m sure others would attest, but the best thing about Miles is that he’s ALWAYS available to assist his former students. I’ve called him at all hours of the day, and probably 99% of those times he’s been extremely busy, BUT he would always make time to talk/listen.

I know he works without the expectation of acknowledgement, but I had to pause to pay tribute to a great educator. Miles, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for being such an influence in my life and the lives of others…you truly make a difference!

Tribute submitted by:
Karl Stewart
Music Specialist
Baltimore County Public Schools
Towson, Maryland