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The Antrim Review of Bellaire, Michigan

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Antrim couple donates $2 million to Dennos Museum

BELLAIRE — The future of Northwestern Michigan College's Dennos Museum is bright, thanks to a large donation from a rural Bellaire couple.

The $2 million donation from Richard and Diana Milock, the largest single gift from living donors in NMC's history, was announced last week during a press conference Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the Traverse City college.

"This is a linchpin for art and culture in the community," said NMC president Tim Nelson of the Milocks' donation, which will allow for a 9,000 square-foot expansion of the Dennos Museum for permanent exhibition of approximately 1,000 art pieces from around the world that has never previously had its own gallery space.

The donation will also allow for construction of additional classroom space to the museum, as well as an improved larger loading dock and storage area, which will make it easier for NMC instructors to curate exhibits related to courses at the college ranging from art and world culture to creative writing.

During last week's press event, Diana Milock related a recent conversation with her son, which had reminded her that "people need the beauty and joy offered by art, music, dancing and other creative pursuits in their lives.

"Without that, the human spirit does not thrive and grow," she said.

A portion of the permanent collection gallery and a sculpture gallery will be named for the Milocks, while another room will be named after Eugene Jenneman, the museurn's founding executive director who has directed museum operations since its creation almost 25 years ago.

"This is very exciting for us," Diana, who with husband Richard owns a home on Torch Lake, said after the event. "We love the Dennos and feel that it is very important to the entire northwestern lower Michigan region, including Antrim County and have always supported funds that help to bring in students to the school from outlying areas like Antrim County.

"We wanted to do this in time for the museum's 25th anniversary, which is coming up next year," she added. "Gene (Jenneman) has really impressed us with his dedication to the museum all these years."

The Milocks, who are also well-known philaithropists in the Antrim County area, were named the recipients of NMC's highest honor — the NM2 Fellow award — in 2014. Through both personal contributions ant their Begonia

Charitable Foundation, the couple has supported many programs and endeavors at NMC, such as the college's Commitment Scholarship and Adopt A Student Scholarship programs, as well as donating funds for a new sound system for Milliken Auditorium, which allowed it to become a classroom lab for concert sound instruction.

Diana Milock has been a member of the NMC Foundation Board since 2011 and serves on its major gifts committee.



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Original Publication Date: September 24, 2015



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