Mercyhurst Magazine Fall 2013

’ PaSSion FoR gRowing a cool breeze futters the drooping limbs of weeping cherry and crabapple trees. fat, fuzzy bumblebees linger on vibrant rhododendron blossoms. it s a stunning array of fora – in fact, more than 1,000 specimens of plants and trees, impeccably planned so something will always be in bloom from may through september. you know, it would be nice if these trees could tell stories, miller says, strolling through the lush gardens. “ ” ’ if they did, they d have a lot to say. when miller and his family moved to the property from westfeld, n.y., they brought with them two chest-high evergreen trees to transplant. when a large tree limb fell and hacked of the evergreens small branches, miller gently tended them back to health, reshaping them with wire and strategically placed weights. looking at the towering, sturdy evergreens now, one would have no idea of their traumatic past. ’ “ i like to grow things, bob miller says. gardens, kids, businesses, colleges. ” “ ” There were no gardens on the property when the family moved in, but miller planted perennials – accented with annuals – each year, transforming the yard into a verdant retreat. between the gardens and the fve acres of concord grapes, mercyhurst students will experience hands-on opportunities in horticulture, landscaping and viticulture. “ it was a lot of fun creating it, miller said. it will be exciting to see it continue to grow as a great asset for mercyhurst. Continuing a legaCY miller s generosity has been a key piece of the ” “ ” ’ mercyhurst north east story since it opened in 1991, thanks to his backing. since then, miller has continued to help propel the campus to new heights with two $1 million challenge grants through the robert s. and Janet l. miller family foundation, frst to establish an endowment that has since surpassed $2 million, and then to open the Janet l. miller center for growth and academic excellence (formerly the first national bank building on station road). students at both the north east and erie campuses will have access to the miller estate labs. georger says this unique facility will give students hands-on opportunities unparalleled by any school in the region. “ mr. miller is one of the fnest men i ve ever met, he said. i m not only excited because of the facilities that are being constructed, but also what s already on this gorgeous piece of property. The miller estate can help us fulfll the mission of the university and give us the newest, brightest learning opportunities for our students. ’ ” “ ’ ’ ”

’ industrial laundry lab. This unique hands- on learning opportunity will open many doors for mercyhurst students, notes daryl georger, assistant professor of hospitality. The housekeeping class won t just memorize the most efcient way to clean a room – they’ll walk through one, based on time motion studies that analyze efciency in sanitation and cost savings in labor. hospitality engineering students will learn from the inside out how things are specifed, delivered and set within a room – and what to do if something malfunctions. - “ ’ we ve been really blessed to receive these kinds of donations, georger said. between this and the newly constructed center for academic engagement on the erie campus, our culinary and hospitality programs will continue to be world-class. ” “ ” tRanSFoRMing a hoMe into a laB for 25 years, the millers and their seven children lived at the 12-acre residence. The property, valued at more than $1 million, features a 5,600-square-foot home, gorgeous gardens, spacious garage and a rustic barn. The miller estate will become an interactive culinary and hospitality learning lab with high-end, professional-grade equipment. The plan will roll out in two phases. first, thanks to a donation from hilton worldwide, the university will install a demo hotel room with real hilton furniture, fxtures and equipment, as well as an

Thanks to a generous gift from a university friend, trustee and

– philanthropist, mercyhurst university The north east campus is growing once again. The culinary and hospitality associate degree programs will have a new home at nearly nine acres of the miller estate, 1640 freeport rd. in north east, a gift of robert and Janet miller. ’ The estates location – across the street from campus, close to the newly relocated mercyhurst farm and next door to the north east public schools – will prove especially valuable, says dr. ken Zirkle, chief operating ofcer and associate provost at mercyhurst north east. “ This picturesque property will help us develop culinary and hospitality programs that will receive national recognition, Zirkle said. furthermore, it will allow us to expand partnerships with the north east school district – our neighbors, right next door. ” “ ” “ The partnerships that will take root here will promote the growth and development of young people through hands-on learning opportunities, he said. That will, ” “ miller noted that one of his main motivations for gifting the property was to increase collaboration between mercyhurst and the north east community. ’ The miller estate, ofcially gifted to the university in 2012, has already been the setting for the university s popular series of community cooking classes. in turn, beneft the growth and development of the community. ”

- The second phase of the plan, still in preliminary development, will modernize the barn into a state of-the-art culinary instructional kitchen – think food network style. initial plans include a demonstration kitchen and a conference room for classes, meetings or events. The conference room will also be outftted with small sinks and faucets for wine tastings. “ sheldon notes that the proposed open foor plan of the new culinary hub will allow students to have a clear view of their instructors and fellow students. “ in the kitchens, students enhance their learning in lab by observing each other as well as their instructors, she said. chefs learn many tricks of the trade from each other. ” “ ”

“ mr. miller has always been so supportive, said beth ann ”

“ sheldon, director of the hospitality management programs on the erie and north east campuses and the culinary and wine institute. not only is this an absolutely gorgeous piece of property, it s in the perfect location to become a cornerstone and a bridge between the university and the community of north east. ’ ”


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