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Harry T. Wilks' support of Miami surpasses $9 million

01/19/2012

Harry T. Wilks, a retired attorney and visionary in the Hamilton community, has added to an already extensive legacy of giving to Miami University with a recent $3 million gift that brings his financial support of the university to more than $9 million.

In honor of Wilks’ latest commitment and generous history, a recommendation has been made to the board of trustees that Miami name the theatre within the new Armstrong Student Center in Wilks’ honor.

Wilks, a 1948 Miami alumnus and a member of Miami’s board of trustees, has supported Miami University in numerous ways over the years. His gifts have created the Leadership Institute on Miami’s Oxford campus and the Conference Center and a lecture series on Miami’s Hamilton campus. Wilks has also funded scholarships each year at Miami Hamilton.

“Young people are the future of our country,” Wilks said. “More than ever, we need to develop in them those qualities and opportunities which will strengthen our country and our lives.”

Wilks is also an avid supporter and collector of the arts. His creation of Pyramid Hill as a public sculpture park — featuring more than 60 outdoor sculptures and a 10,000-square-feet ancient sculpture museum — established Hamilton as “The City of Sculpture.” He is a long-time member of the board of directors for Cincinnati Opera and is a recipient of the Ambassador Award for the Arts from The Fitton Center for Creative Arts. A former Butler County Citizen of the Year and a member of the Greater Butler County Business Hall of Fame, Wilks is a dedicated philanthropist and world traveler.

“Harry Wilks is one of the most generous alumni in Miami history,” said Miami President David Hodge. “We are honored that he has chosen to make another profound investment in the success of our students and in the exciting opportunities that will be brought to life within the Armstrong Student Center. The theatre will be a wonderful venue for student-run speaker events, student and professional performances, and other imaginative events that bring our students together.”

The theatre will be a signature space within the Armstrong Student Center, which is slated for completion in early 2014. Featuring 500 seats, stage- and balcony-level seating and state-of-the-art sound and video systems, the theatre will be an ideal venue for hosting performances, speakers, movies and more. Miami students will be responsible for programming the theatre, which meets the long-held need for a medium-sized performance venue on campus.

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