sealPurdue News

September 11, 2002

Alumna gift will fund child's play, new Purdue building

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Play time at Purdue University will benefit from a grandmother's touch.

Download Photo Here
Photo caption below

Maxine Horn Miller, the grandmother of four and a Purdue alumna, is giving $250,000 to the School of Consumer and Family Sciences to benefit child development. A small portion of Miller's gift will refurbish the large motor skills room in Fowler House, and the remainder will be used as the first gift toward a new building for the Department of Child Development and Family Studies.

"To honor Maxine and her contributions in child development, the large motor skills room in the Fowler House will be named the Maxine Horn Miller Activity Room," said Dennis Savaiano, dean of the School of Consumer and Family Sciences.

A dedication ceremony is scheduled 4-5 p.m. on Thursday (9/12) at the Fowler House.

Miller, who graduated with her bachelor's degree in 1959 from Purdue's Vocational Home Economics Program, is a Lafayette resident. Miller taught school before her son and daughter were born. Then she helped her husband, Ben, who graduated from Purdue in 1959 in economics, with his business, Tri-County Telephone Co. Miller adapted her consumer and family science skills to the world of communications, while focusing on telephone, cable, paging and Internet. The Millers also served as co-chairs for the Purdue's President's Council from 1998 to 1999.

"Once again Maxine has found a way to meet her alma mater's needs," Savaiano said. "This time she is focusing on the future of child development and family studies by contributing to the new building."

Currently, the department's offerings are not housed in one building. The present Child Development and Family Studies Building will be razed to make room for Purdue's new Discovery Park.

The new building will be adjacent to the west side of Fowler House, which houses the Purdue Childcare Program, the Center for Families and the Marriage and Family Therapy Program. The new facility will allow the department to combine child laboratory schools and day care. It also will house family-related programs such as the Gerontology Program and Military Family Research Institute. A new youth center will include the 4-H youth program.

The cost and size of the new building have not yet been determined.

A portion of Miller's gift also will pay for new carpet and tumbling mats in the activity room, which is primarily for active play. In this room children run, throw balls, jump, ride tricycles or dance, and the room also is available for physical therapy for children who have special needs.

Active play is a critical part of the Purdue Childcare Program, said Linn Veen the program's director. When children are physically active during their early years, they tend to maintain that activeness in their adult lives. When engaging in active play, children not only improve their physical health, but they also learn concepts about space and numbers.

"Maxine Miller's gift affects more than just this department here at Purdue," Veen said. "The money used to enhance the Purdue Childcare Program is a small piece of the fabric of care that stretches over Indiana. The Purdue early childhood development and family studies students who learn in this program will take their experiences throughout the state and improve the lives of children in other counties."

Writer: Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723,

Sources: Dennis Savaiano, (765) 494-8213,

Linn Veen, (765) 494-0240,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Head teacher Tami Lynch, left, and student teacher Samantha Churchman, a junior in the School of Consumer and Family Sciences from Pekin, Ind., help preschoolers through the obstacle course in the Maxine Horn Miller Activity Room in Fowler House. The room will be dedicated on Thursday (9/12). A portion of Miller's gift of $250,000 will pay for tumbling mats and new carpet for the room. The remainder of her gift will go toward the new building for the Department of Child Development and Family Studies. (Purdue News Service Photo by David Umberger)

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page