When Marlin Miller, Jr. ’54, H’89 joined the Alfred University Board of Trustees in 1972 as an alumni-elected trustee, the then-chair, Phillip W. Tefft ’39, H’75 taught Marlin what it was like to be a board member and a philanthropist.
Based on Marlin’s history with our University, Phillip Tefft did an exemplary job as a mentor!
Marlin is not only the longest-serving member of the Alfred University Board of Trustees, but he is also the University’s most-generous donor. His gifts have built the Miller Performing Arts Center and the Miller Theater, as well as the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, reflecting his commitment to the arts at our University.
Additionally, Marlin has endowed the directorship of the Museum in honor of Wayne Higby, its current director and chief curator. He also has endowed the Robert C. Turner professorship in ceramic art and the Ted Randall chair for international visiting artists. Marlin has created a dance residency program for our Division of Performing Arts and the Marcianne Mapel Miller fund for ceramic art in honor of his late first wife, who earned a BFA in ceramic art from our University.
Marlin’s most recent gift, announced last week at the meeting of our Board of Trustees in New York City, honors his mentor; he has committed $2 million to renovate Tefft Residence Hall. The four-story brick building, built in 1963, has 50 rooms, and can accommodate up to 100 students and three residence directors. While we have made some updates to the building over the past decade, Marlin’s gift will allow us to do a more thorough renovation, similar to what is being done at Moskowitz Hall.
Phillip Tefft, who attended Alfred University for two years, was elected to the Alfred University Board of Trustees in 1952, serving as chair for six years. In 1975, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from our University and, in 1976, he was named a Life Trustee. He passed away in 2013.
Phillip’s father, C. Forrest Tefft, was a 1914 graduate of Alfred University, and it was in his father’s honor that Tefft Residence Hall was named. Marlin’s gift assures that the residence hall will carry the Tefft name into the future.
Phillip began his professional career with the Claycraft Company in Columbus, Ohio, a manufacturer of structural face brick and tile, joining his father and brother in the family business. He eventually became president and chair of the Claycraft Board upon the passing of his father in the early 1950s. Following a long career in the ceramics industry, Phillip retired as president of Ceramitec, Inc., also headquartered in Columbus. In recognition of his many industrial contributions, Phillip was elected a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society in 1956.
Marlin earned his bachelor’s degree in ceramic engineering from Alfred University in 1954 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1956. He was the chair of our Board from 1983-1989 and currently serves on the Executive, Investment, and Strategic Planning Committees, as well as on the Human Resources Subcommittee.
After serving as First Lieutenant in the US Army Finance Corps in Frankfurt, Germany, Marlin joined the Glen Gery Corp. and was vice president of Connors Investor Services. In 1975, he founded Arrow International, Inc., in Reading, Pennsylvania. Marlin retired in 2003 as president and CEO of the company and is now active in venture capital, serving as the director of Norwich Ventures, Inc.
Marlin and his wife, Ginger, reside in Reading, Pennsylvania. They are members of our University’s Society of Benefactors.
What is truly is truly remarkable is the depth of respect Marlin had for his mentor and the strength of the bond of friendship between the two that led to this gift. It is just one more example of Alfred University’s magic!Fiat Friendships!