Gift from Martha Miller
To Support New Building at Hope

Posted June 30, 1999

            HOLLAND -- A gift from the late Martha Miller of
  Holland will underwrite construction of the Martha Miller
  Center, a multipurpose building that will, among other
  roles, provide a home for the nationally accredited dance
  program at Hope College.
          Word of the $3 million gift, announced by Miller's
  family on Wednesday afternoon, provided a farewell present
  for Hope College President Dr. John H. Jacobson, who was in
  his final hours at the college before retiring.
          "Martha Miller was a gracious and kind friend to
  the college, and my wife Jeanne and I valued the opportunity
  to get to know her during our time at Hope," Jacobson said.
  "The college is delighted to name the building in her
          Martha Miller with her family had been making
  arrangements for the gift in the weeks before her death on
  Sunday, May 16, at age 96.  Her three children valued the
  opportunity to follow through on her wishes.
          "We're all very happy that we can do this," said
  her daughter, Connie Johnston of Bloomfield Hills.
          The gift is a way of recognizing the college's
  role in the Miller family and in the community, said her son
  Philip Miller of Holland.  Martha Miller attended Hope, as
  did all three of her children and five of her grandchildren.
          "So over the years Hope College has played a major
  role in the shaping of values and the development of
  generations of the family in ways that we appreciate," he
  said.  "Just as the college has also shaped the Holland
  community and helped make Holland the special place that it
  is today."
          The timing of the announcement, noted eldest son
  Jack Miller of Grand Haven, had also been important to his
          "She appreciated the efforts that John Jacobson
  made on behalf of the project," he said.  "One of her wishes
  was that this be concluded and announced while Dr. Jacobson
  was president of Hope College."
          As the college suggested naming the center in
  recognition of the gift and the family's long-time
  relationship with Hope, the children in turn asked that the
  building be named for their mother specifically.
          Among other uses still being determined, the
  building will house general classrooms, offices for the
  dance faculty and dance studios.  Preliminary estimates
  place the cost at $5-6 million for a structure of
  approximately 40,000 square feet.
          Hope is examining sites on the central campus for
  the building.  It will not, as had been considered earlier,
  be built on college-owned property at College Avenue and
  Ninth Street that is currently leased to the city for
          The department of dance has been based in the
  college's Dow Health and Physical Education Center since the
  building opened in 1978.  Dance became a major in 1984 and
  has been accredited by the National Association of Schools
  of Dance since 1985.
          Martha Miller, who was born in Danforth, Ill.,
  moved to Holland with her family at age four and grew up in
  the city.  She attended Hope as well as the University of
          She lived in Zeeland for most of her life, and was
  active in organizations including the Zeeland Girl Scouts
  and the Zeeland Literary Club, as well as Second Reformed
  Church in Zeeland.  Her interest in the Zeeland Library
  prompted a family donation that led to the construction of
  the Howard Miller Library and Community Center in 1995.
          She was an officer of the Howard Miller Clock
  Company.  The company was founded by her husband, Howard
  Miller, who preceded her in death in 1995.

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