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Updated 1:00 PM October 4, 2005
 

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Kellogg expansion gets $1M boost

Detroit-area businessman and U-M alumnus Leonard G. Miller has made a $1 million gift to help launch the Kellogg Eye Center expansion project, which recently was approved by the Board of Regents.

"Leonard Miller has offered a leadership gift that comes at a key moment in our building campaign," says Dr. Paul R. Lichter, chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and director of the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center. "His generosity will allow us to develop the facilities our scientists need to sustain their leadership in vision research. Larry understands how vital physical space is to scientific discovery."

The $120 million building, which will be located adjacent to the current Kellogg research tower, will increase space for vision research, education and patient care by 50 percent. One of the goals of the new center is to advance the pace of research toward a cure for diseases such as macular degeneration that affect millions of older Americans.

Miller's gift grew out his own experience at Kellogg. After developing double vision, Miller says he had the "lucky coincidence" of meeting Lichter while he was at the center. After successful treatment at Kellogg, Miller accepted an invitation to tour the facility.

"My support comes from a personal connection to individuals, and then having the opportunity to learn about the needs of the eye center," he says. "When I toured the research laboratories with Paul, I could see how crowded the facilities had become. It seemed that the time was right to contribute to the growth of the research program.

"Eyesight is such a critical part of our lives," he says. "I'm pleased to be able to make research possible—and better."

President Mary Sue Coleman says Miller's gift will enable growth vital for medical research while advancing The Michigan Difference, the University's $2.5-billion fundraising campaign.

"This generous gift will allow us to expand facilities and resources needed to further our understanding of eye disease," she says. "Mr. Miller's timely support of vision research has the potential for improving the lives of millions of people."

In addition to his gift to Kellogg, Miller has supported the College of Engineering (CoE) and the Department of Oncology.

Miller was a founding partner of Molmec, Inc., a supplier of molded plastic components for the automotive industry. The Walled Lake, Mich.-based company manufactured components, such as trim pieces, door handles, fasteners, fans and shrouds, as well as carburetors and timing gears for small engines.

Molmec was one of the first companies to use robots in the injection molding manufacturing process, and it introduced the first toilet designed to conserve water by using only a gallon and a half of water per flush.

Miller earned his bachelor of science in engineering and master of science degrees from the CoE in 1955. He was awarded one of the first degrees in materials engineering from the University.

Miller's parents and sister also are alumni. His father was involved in the University's Evans Scholarship for golf caddies. In the 1940s, his grandfather, Henry Carter Adams II, was instrumental in advancing the Naval Architecture program.

Born in Birmingham, Mich., Miller currently resides in Orchard Lake Village, where he served as mayor in 1988, and later, as a member of the village planning commission.

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