AU Press Releases

Miller’s newest gift to Alfred University honors man who taught him about philanthropy

Tefft Residence Hall on the Alfred University campus (shown above soon after it was built in 1963).

Tefft Residence Hall on the Alfred University campus (shown above soon after it was built in 1963).

ALFRED, NY – When Marlin Miller, Jr. ’54, ’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 Miller what it was to be a board member, and a philanthropist.

“Based on Marlin Miller’s history with Alfred University, Philip Tefft apparently did an exemplary job as a mentor,” said Alfred University President Mark Zupan.

Miller is not only the longest-serving member of the Alfred University Board of Trustees, but he is also the University’s most-generous donor, said Zupan. His previous 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 Alfred University.

Additionally, he has endowed the directorship of the Museum in honor of Wayne Higby, its current director and chief curator, as well as a long-time friend of Miller’s.  He has also endowed the Robert C. Turner Professorship in Ceramic Art, and the Ted Randall Chair for international visiting artists.

Miller also endowed a dance residency program for the Division of Performing Arts, and created the Marcianne Mapel Miller fund for ceramic art in honor of his late first wife, who earned a BFA in ceramic art from Alfred University.

Miller’s most recent gift, announced last week at the board’s meeting in New York City, honors his mentor; he’s committed $2 million to renovate Tefft Residence Hall. The four-story brick building, built in 1963, currently has 50 rooms, and can accommodate up to 100 students and three residence directors.

Phillip Tefft was elected to the Alfred University Board of Trustees in 1952, serving as chairman for six years. In 1975, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University and in 1976 he was named a Life Trustee. He passed away in 2013.

His 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.  “This gift from Marlin in Phillip Tefft’s name assures that the residence hall will carry the Tefft name into the future,” said Zupan.

Although Phillip Tefft attended Alfred University for two years, he received his B.S. degree in ceramic engineering from Ohio State University.

After graduation, Phillip began working for the Claycraft Company, Columbus, Ohio, a manufacturer of structural face brick and tile, joining his father and brother in the family business. Upon completing his studies, he assumed managerial responsibility, eventually becoming President and Chairman of the Board upon the passing of his father in the early 1950s. Following a long career in the ceramics industry he retired as president of Ceramitec, Inc., also in Columbus. In recognition of his many contributions, he was elevated to the position of a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society in 1956.

Miller earned his B.S. in ceramic engineering from Alfred University in 1954 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1956.

Miller, a current Board Chair Emeritus, served as Board Chair from 1983-1989 and currently serves on the Executive, Investment and Strategic Planning Committees, as well as on the Human Resources Subcommittee. He was presented with an honorary Doctor of Science degree in 1989.

After serving as First Lieutenant in the US Army Finance Corps in Frankfurt, Germany, Miller joined the Glen Gery Corp. and was vice president of Connors Investor Services. In 1975 he founded Arrow International, Inc. in Reading, PA. Miller 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.

In addition to his service to Alfred, Miller is a trustee of several national and Reading-based not-for-profit organizations in the fields of education, art, and human services.

Miller and his wife Ginger reside in Reading, PA. The Millers are members of the Society of Benefactors at Alfred University.