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Christian Union
March 9, 2018

Miller ’18 Excels in Faith, Theater Communities 

By Catherine Elvy, Staff Writer 

Undergraduate studies at Yale College have provided an extraordinary platform for a senior and his passion for storytelling, especially via the dramatic arts. 

Dillon Miller ’18, who serves as co-president of Christian Union’s ministry at Yale, has landed major roles in about a dozen productions and appeared in numerous more during his involvement in Yale’s artistic community.

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“I’ve wanted to be an actor since I was four,” said Miller, who is majoring in sociology with a concentration in performance in society. 

“What I really love about acting and sociology is the storytelling aspect.” 

After matriculating into Yale, the native of rural Ohio was pleasantly surprised to discover a vibrant faith community. As well, Miller was delighted to encounter recognition and support for dramatic arts as a career choice. In his tiny hometown of Plain City, being an actor generally is considered “not a real job,” Miller quipped. 

Better yet, Miller’s spiritual growth has exploded since arriving on campus from Central Ohio, where his family is rooted in Amish and Mennonite heritage. “I grew in my faith exponentially, more than I would in my hometown,” said Miller. “I never really had anyone challenge me in my faith.”

Miller notes he did not seek genuine ownership of his faith until his collegiate studies. “I started to wonder about my relationship with Jesus,” he said. 

Then, as he grappled with his beliefs as a Yale underclassman, Miller found himself surrounded by “incredibly intelligent” peers, including ones who expected him to be able to fully articulate and rationalize his beliefs. 

Thankfully, Christian Union ministry fellows helped the Midwesterner probe life’s deep questions from a biblical worldview. “I really formed great relationships with ministry fellows,” he said. 

Clay Cromer, Christian Union’s ministry director at Yale, noted Miller’s dedication to seeking God. “It has been a joy to get to know Dillon over the past year, both as one of our co-presidents and as a brother in Christ,” said Cromer. “He has really grown to discover God’s truth as intellectually satisfying, while engaging in Christian Union Bible Courses alongside his other academic pursuits at Yale.”

Jason Entgelmeier ’17, a Christian Union intern, echoed those comments. Miller channels his “energy and cheerfulness into seeking the Lord with all his heart,” said Entgelmeier. “Despite the fact that he is one of the few Christians deeply invested in the performing arts here, he is also very open about his faith and eager to show fellow students the love of Christ.”

As for his plans beyond Yale’s campus, Miller is contemplating options to immerse himself in the American theater industry. “That’s where I have a lot of connections with alumni,” said Miller of Midtown Manhattan’s famed Broadway corridor. “It’s full of opportunities.”

Despite his accomplishments, Miller admits he often feels like throwing darts at a dartboard to select his next move, especially given his diverse professional interests. In addition to his flair for stagecraft, Miller is developing a keen interest in politics and social justice.

“I am wondering how they will fit together,” Miller said. 

A 2016 semester abroad with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts increased Miller’s penchant for the world of thespianism. “That was what really consolidated my love for Shakespeare and formal acting training,” said Miller. “It was a wonderful time.”

“When I went to London, the training was very much built and grounded on [Shakespeare’s] text,” said Miller. “It’s an actor’s dream.”

Such training recently paid off for Miller when he portrayed Macbeth in five sold-out performances at Whitney Humanities Center as part of a joint senior thesis entitled The Company and the Text: Macbeth

Miller is awed by the creative forces within performance arts, including options for stage ministry. “I’m interested in the intersection of those arenas,” he said. 

Already, collegiate theater has provided Miller with opportunities to be a witness. “Yale is the kind of place where people are open to talking about experiences,” said Miller. “I really do not have close friends in theater with whom I have not discussed my faith.”

As well, Miller has been able to model godly composure amid production chaos. The theatrical scene “can be very stressful,” he said. “I’ve been able to be a level-headed presence and make people comfortable with having discussions about faith.”

Given that, Miller expressed gratitude for the wealth of apologetic and character training he has received via Christian Union. “I don’t know if I can overstate the role of Christian Union in my faith and growth,” Miller said. “Christian Union was the ministry I needed and craved, whether I knew it or not.” Click to Tweet