Alumnus gives NDHS two $500,000 gifts

Notre Dame High School president George Valadie announced Aug. 27 that the school has received two significant gifts: a $500,000 restricted gift to not only complete the final three phases of renovation in the school’s theater/auditorium but also to provide for multiple needs in other curricular and capital areas, as well as an additional $500,000 restricted challenge gift.

Both gifts, to be spread over the next five years, have been given by alumnus Michael Miller. Mr. Miller recently visited Chattanooga to celebrate his 60th reunion with classmates.

“My 60th reunion brought back a lot of fond memories of my time at NDHS all those years ago,” reflected Mr. Miller. “I have much to be grateful for in my life, and that includes the four years I spent at ND growing up in a disciplined environment that taught me many of the values I have carried with me throughout my life. Without that experience I doubt that I would have been able to pursue my dreams and succeed in fulfilling many of them. It is with that in mind that I want to share some of my success with Notre Dame and perhaps help others succeed in a similar way.”

Constructed in 1980, the performing-arts space is home to musical and theatrical presentations, student assemblies as well as multiple liturgical celebrations. To be renamed the “Michael and Eleanor Miller Theater” when rededicated, the gift will also pay tribute to Mr. Miller’s wife who passed away seven years ago and will allow for acquisition of other school needs.

The additional matching gift challenge is being offered over the next five years to match dollar-for-dollar all donations from supporters who make a gift to Notre Dame High School in the 2019-20 fiscal year.

“I’m usually pretty good with words, but I told Mr. Miller I’ve been struggling to find a way to adequately express the thanks and appreciation of the Notre Dame family,” Mr. Valadie said. “Notre Dame has educated thousands of alums through the years, many of whom have achieved remarkable success and generously returned their gratitude.

“It’s both gratifying—and incredibly challenging—to know the impact we make on young people … those of the past and those of the future. For Mr. Miller to recognize that in this way is life-changing, not to mention what can be accomplished with the benefit of his challenge offer. I just know the Notre Dame family will respond.”

The renovation of the theater space that houses the David Harr Stage was begun on the occasion of the school’s 140th anniversary and was made possible by the generosity of some 400-plus members of the Notre Dame family along with foundation and corporate support.

This new gift will allow the school to complete the renovation with new carpet as well as the installation of new sound, lighting, and audio-visual systems.

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