Who is Harry T. Wilks?

Harry T. Wilks

Harry T. Wilks was a Miami alumnus who resided in Hamilton, Ohio. A former attorney, Mr. Wilks accomplished a great deal in his career. In 1987, he bought 40 acres of land in Hamilton and then purchased additional land totaling 265 acres. Mr. Wilks converted that property into Pyramid Hill, a public sculpture park and museum. The park is the only one of its kind in the world, with over 65 sculptures on display, and a museum that plays host to exceedingly rare and valuable artifacts. Pyramid Hill is such a major asset to the community of Hamilton that the city is referred to as "The City of Sculpture."

In addition to his passion for art and sculpture, Mr. Wilks maintained a strong relationship with Miami University. In 2002, his donation to the University created the Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute. Mr. Wilks was inspired to support this initiative because of his overall sense of a decline in public trust in leadership. Mr. Wilks reported to the Cincinnati Inquirer that "decision-making should be based on enduring principles… and my goal for the Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute is to foster ethical leadership among all Miami students." In his quest to make Miami "the place that people think of when leadership development is mentioned,” he also donated the Harry T. Wilks Conference Center on the school’s Hamilton campus and the Harry T. Wilks Lecture Series (which brings in excellent speakers like Pulitzer Prize–winning Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. and Pat Buchanan). Most recently, Mr. Wilks donated to the new Armstrong Student Center on the Miami Oxford campus. To honor his generosity to the University, the new student theater in the Armstrong Student Center is named after him. Additionally, Mr. Wilks strengthened his commitment to Miami when he joined the Miami University Board of Trustees and remained a Board member until his passing in 2014. Mr. Wilks' position on the Board brought his much desired guidance even closer to students as they pursued their education. Mr. Wilks passed away in March 2014 and his obituary can be read online through the Journal News website.

Harry T. Wilks has a remarkable life story and a passionate vision. His role in the local community and the University was supportive and inspirational and his impact will be lasting for years to come.