Student Success

Gift from Charter Class Alumna Helps Prepare Students for Success

Oakland University charter class member Beverly (Bev) Donato Miller has enriched the OU libraries with a gift

A woman outside, sitting on a bench.


icon of a calendarOctober 7, 2020

icon of a pencilBy Catherine Ticer

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Oakland University charter class member Beverly (Bev) Donato Miller has enriched the OU libraries with the gift of a presentation practice room to help students in all majors sharpen their communication skills and prepare to excel in a competitive working world.

The presentation practice room is specifically designed to support students in preparing for class presentations, public speaking opportunities and interviews. Funding provides soundproofing, video equipment and other necessary technology for the room. In recognition of the generous gift, Oakland University named the space to honor Miller and the legacy of her all-OU graduate family – husband Ronald, son Robert and daughter Katherine.

Miller, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in French and a secondary education teaching certificate in 1963, taught school for several years before returning to OU to become a certified paralegal. Prior to retirement, she spent 10 years working for the Oakland County Friend of the Court.

“I wanted to give something lasting that will be useful for students as they move forward in achieving their goals. I think everybody should have the opportunity to perfect their presentation skills before they leave college,” says Miller.

Polly Boruff-Jones, dean of university libraries, recognizes the important role the presentation practice room will have in the lives of OU students. "The Miller family presentation practice room is a wonderful addition to the library’s collection of resources and services that offer our students hands-on opportunities to acquire and hone skills that benefit them in college and in the workplace,” says Boruff-Jones. “University libraries is so grateful to Mrs. Miller for this investment in student success."

Miller’s love of libraries began early in life when she would walk to her neighborhood library as a young student. At OU, she and her late husband Ronald – also a charter class member – helped to establish the Charter Challenge Endowment at Kresge Library. Miller would later serve her community by becoming an Auburn Hills Library Board of Trustees member, a position she has been elected to three times. “Libraries are the heart of a campus and also the heart of the community,” says Miller.

As a member of the charter class, Miller remembers fondly some unique opportunities that were only made available to her and her classmates. She recalls a very special senior prom at Meadow Brook Hall where OU founder Matilda Dodge Wilson presented each class member with a diamond class ring. Wilson then capped off the magical night by hosting a 3 a.m. breakfast.

Miller is grateful that a Rotary Club of Pontiac scholarship paid her tuition and books, allowing her the financial means to attend Oakland University while she lived at home and worked 20 hours a week. “I received such a good education and I always wanted to find a way to pay the scholarship back,” says Miller.

For more information about supporting OU Libraries, contact Lynn Fisher at [email protected].

With student health and safety in mind, the Miller family presentation practice room will open when COVID-19 restrictions related to the sharing of space and equipment are lifted. Kresge Library looks forward to offering the presentation practice room for reservation by students as soon as possible.

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