Huntington University is a Christian liberal arts college in Indiana

Learning to exercise faith:

Personal trainer lives out message of hope for others
Danny Miller describes advantages of kinesiology degree program at Huntington University, a Christian college.

"My knowledge base was higher than others graduating in my field. Smaller classes gave me more time to ask questions and gain more understanding."

Graduating with a degree in exercise science from Huntington University was more than just career training for Danny Miller, a 2000 alumnus.

While Danny recognizes that the exercise-science program at Huntington helped him become a top personal trainer, success for this young man centers around something much deeper than his profession. For it was at Huntington that Danny was challenged to go deep into his core, find out why he believed what he did and take that message of faith and hope to others.

Before attending Huntington, Danny was very active in sports, show choir and his high-school youth group. His busy lifestyle didn’t change at Huntington, where he formed an accountability group, toured the nation with an a cappella quartet, and got married while working a full-time job during his senior year.

And while his activity level didn’t change, something else did. Danny discovered a depth to his faith he had never known. Before, he admits, his faith was based largely on his pastor’s teachings. "Now, I have a better understanding of the word from reading and studying it myself," said Danny.

Danny credits his Bible and philosophy courses as vital parts of this change. But his spiritual growth wasn’t confined to the classroom. Through One Generation, the a cappella quartet he joined his freshman year, Danny learned to exercise his newfound understanding of the Scriptures. "It really put all the things I’d learned in youth group and college into action," he said. "It was a great avenue to share my faith with others."

One of those avenues opened up during January Term his freshman year.

Danny and the group toured 20 states, covering 10,600 miles in just three-and-a-half weeks. That summer, they performed 65 concerts, representing Huntington in churches across the nation. Three albums and hundreds of concerts later, the group still keeps up a busy performance schedule, which recently included a three-month contract with a Christmas theatrical production in South Carolina starring Steve Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers.

"Huntington University helped us record our first album and gave us vital contacts in the Fort Wayne area and beyond," he said. Appropriately, it was the opportunity to join One Generation that helped influence Danny to attend Huntington in the first place. Giving up a football scholarship at a larger university, Danny went to Huntington, joining brother Scott (‘93) in the quartet. It’s a decision he’s never regretted.

"I already knew a lot of the students at Huntington," he said. "Huntington is a smaller institution, so we really get to know other people." In fact, it was at Huntington that he met his future wife, Stacie (Roth, ‘01).

Huntington’s small size contributed to his success as a personal trainer, as well. "My knowledge base was higher than others graduating in my field," said Danny. The smaller classes gave me time to ask more questions and gain more understanding and application."

Danny cites Dr. Paul Smith’s exercise-physiology course as the best class he had ever taken, teaching him how to help clients meet their goals of weight loss or muscle gain — knowledge he applies daily as a personal trainer for the YWCA.

But it wasn’t just Smith’s teaching that Danny treasures. "He was always open to talking with us before or after class," said Danny. "We could even call him up in the middle of the night if we needed to. You wouldn’t necessarily develop that kind of relationship at a bigger college."

These are the kind of relationships Danny encourages college-bound students to consider. "Make as many friends and get involved in as many activities as possible," he said, "or you won’t know what’s available to you."

But it’s not just the activities that make a difference. For Danny, it’s the faith inside that counts. "Doing God’s Will isn’t about being in One Generation or working as a personal trainer," said Danny. Instead, he asks himself, "Am I an example of Christ when I go to work? Am I spending time in the word and prayer?"

And so, whether he’s serving clients as a personal trainer or openly sharing his faith in a concert, Danny has learned the value of living for Christ in everything he does.

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