Michael Miller (THS ’80)

Michael Miller (THS 1980)

2011 Hall of Fame Inductee

Medical researcher.

A National Honor Society member at THS, Miller participated in the Trojan and stage bands, playing sax, and Model U.N. In debate, he and his partner Dana Ault were 6A state champions and qualified for Nationals. In 1986 he received his B.A. in Microbiology (Departmental Honors) from the University of Kansas and PhD. in 1991 from Harvard University, Division of Medical Sciences. Working at several prestigious laboratories, among them the Hughes Medical Institute and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies at La Jolla (1993-97), he has been with the Merck Research Laboratories since 1997. Currently Miller is Directer of the Department of Antiviral Research at Merck. He is also author, or co-author of 60+ journal articles and papers. His team at Merck discovered Isentress™ which is an HIV-1 integrase inhibitor which won them in 2008 Prix Galien USA award, the highest accolade in pharmaceutical research and equivalent to a Nobel Prize.

Robert Ward (1944)

2011 Hall of Fame Inductee

Engineer, scientist.

An Honor T recipient and Student Council alternate at Topeka High, in contrast to that seriousness Ward was active in theatre playing Normal Peel in Masque & Wig play The Fighting Peels. His senior year he was vice president of the Thespians; however, he was able to graduate early in February. Entering Yale University in March, 1944, Ward then enlisted in the Navy late that fall. Returning to Yale on G.I. Bill, he graduated from the Engineering School Magna cum Laude with his degree in electrical engineering (1949). His PhD is from Stanford University (1963). Ward’s research has focused on missile guidance systems and communications; he worked at the Lockheed Research and Development Division from 1963 to retirement in 1993. Currently he enjoys part-time status as a consulting scientist at Lockheed; he has four patents to his credit and has written or co-written 25 technical articles. Bob Ward has four children.

Thomas W. Williamson (1911)

2011 Hall of Fame Inductee


Unfortunately, little is known about Thomas Williamson’s student life when he attended THS in 1907. After Topeka High he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in architecture. Returning to Topeka, Williamson began work in the state architect’s office in 1911 and then opened his own practice the following year. By the 1920’s he had risen to the ranks as one of the city’s leading architects with numerous important commissions including the new First Methodist Church (1922), Mulvane Art Museum (1924), and the Jayhawk Hotel and Theatre (1926). His firm came to specialize in public and school buildings; among them is Topeka Roosevelt, Boswell, and Crane Jr. High Schools and both Monroe and Sumner elementary schools of Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision. His crowning achievement, of course, was Topeka High School in 1930-31. He died in the 1970’s.

Don B. Pollom (1939)

2011 Hall of Fame Inductee

Distinguished Trojan.

Don Pollom was the quintessential BMOC (Big Man On Campus) at Topeka High; King of the All-School Party, letterman in football and track, All-State halfback in 1938, National Honor Society, etc. On top of that, he set a national high school track and field record in the 200-yard low hurdles. He continued his winning ways at KU and in 1940 was both a running back and punter for the Jayhawks. After his junior year, Pollom enlisted in the Naval Air Corps (1942) earning his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Assigned to a carrier in the Pacific, he took off in his F4U Corsair on February 3, 1944, but was not heard from again. Listed as “missing in action,” he presumably crashed at sea – a Trojan who had been destined for a great future.

Jean Bass

2011 THS Distinguished Staff


A native of Kansas City, MO., Gloria “Jean” Ison graduated from Southwest Missouri State in January, 1964. Since there were no jobs teaching high school art in mid year, she took a position at a three-room grade school near Richland. Soon afterwards, she applied for a Topeka High position, obtaining her contract the day of her interview and before the District had received her transcript. Her first year in 1964-65, Ison taught two classes at Roosevelt Jr. High and the remainder of the day at Topeka High. In 1965 she married fellow artist and T.H.S. graduate James Bass (‘51), a prominent Kansas sculptor with many works found in Topeka. Specializing in weaving and fiber art, Jean Bass has had numerous local commissions, among them the First Congregational and Methodist churches of Topeka, and exhibitions at various galleries including the Mulvane, Topeka Public Library, Wichita Art Museum, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska, and so forth. She retired in 2002 and passed away March 15, 2011. She and her husband had two children.

Bernice Boyles

2011 THS Distinguished Staff


Born on a farm near Rossville, upon graduating the 8th grade in rural school Miss Boyles obtained a certificate for teaching in country schools – a practice possible in the early 1900s. Therefore, she taught grades one through eight at several Shawnee Co. one-room schools and Silver Lake elementary before receiving her AB degree from KU. After serving a year in the former Quincy Jr. High in North Topeka, Miss Boyles joined the Topeka High mathematics faculty in 1921. Retiring in 1956, she immediately became involved in establishing the Topeka Science Fair for area students. For this activity Miss Boyles was recognized as the 1957 Topeka Woman of the Year. She died at age 86 in 1976.