Grant Miller, Class of 2007, didn’t need a TV series to tell him about the West Wing.
He walked its halls in the White House while serving on the official photography staff during the last year of President George W. Bush’s administration. He was present at such historic events as Pope Benedict XVI’s 2008 visit and the G20 economic summit.
But Grant says the White House was the last thing on his mind while he was preparing for graduation in 2007.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation,” he says. “But I heard about a photo internship at the White House from professors Jared Ragland, who worked there, and John Lawrence. I wasn’t sure it would pan out, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to apply.”
Meanwhile, Grant graduated with a degree in psychology and a minor in photography and started a new job as the College’s Interim Director of Student Activities and Service.
“I was very excited about the job because I love this school and the students,” he says. “It was a perfect fit.”
He barely had time to settle into his new position before something happened that would change everything.
“I got a call from the White House that I had been accepted for one of the internships,” he says. “It was the chance of a lifetime.”
His bosses at the College were understanding, and agreed to hold his job for the semester he would be in Washington. So Grant headed to the nation’s capital, where he worked in the photography office of the White House, learning the ins and outs of everything.
“I did a lot of the grunt work to start off with but also had the opportunity to photograph the president,” he says.
As the end of the internship neared, Grant began looking forward to returning to his “real” job at the College. But once again, plans were about to change. He was offered a full-time position at the White House.
Now he had a choice to make.
“I love the college so much, and all my friends are here,” he says. “I loved working here and I loved the community. But I knew this was an opportunity of a lifetime that I couldn’t pass up.”
Grant began work at the White House in December 2007 and continued there through the remainder of the Bush administration.
Now he is back home in Dalton, contemplating his next career move. Whatever it may be, he is grateful for his time spent on the Hill.
“Attending LaGrange College was the best decision I ever made,” he says. “Because this is a small campus, I got to know all my professors on a personal level. Although I graduated two years ago, I can still come back and see my professors and they are still interested in what and how I’m doing.
“I was given opportunities here I don’t think I would have gotten anywhere else.”