60 The Tommies & The Tommie Award //
Students, staff, and faculty have the opportunity to nominate a student to receive one of the university’s top
honors: the Tommie Award. Recipients reflect the highest ideals of St. Thomas; the scholarship, leadership
and campus involvement of a student play a role in determining who will receive each year’s award.
The 2017 Tommie Award winner, senior Michelle Miller, represents each of these ideals. As an English major
with a minor in American Culture and Difference, Miller balances academic success with a commitment to
her campus community and her love for the performing arts. The aspiring children’s author teaches dance
to young kids in Woodbury, took part in numerous vocal groups on campus and served her fellow students
as a resident adviser and REAL Program peer adviser.
Dr. Todd Lawrence, Miller’s mentor and professor who nominated her for the award, spoke of her deep care
and empathy for others. Miller, Dr. Lawrence said, represents a standard we should hold for our students
and our community “I believe she embodies all that we say we value.”
Miller also makes history as the first African-American woman to receive the an award university started giving in 1931. For Miller, this says to other black women: “Hey, you matter, you’re awesome, you’re a goddess
and keep doing you. And if that’s not the message I want when I leave here, I don’t know what is.”