Gannon Alumnus Gary Miller Makes a Meaningful Contribution to a Memorable Place

Posted: April 11, 2017

As the site of commencement and convocation ceremonies, concerts and performances, buzzer-beating shots and conference championship celebrations, the Hammermill Center, perhaps more than any other building on the Gannon University campus, is built of memories.

From his front-row seat facing the Gannon bench, Gary Miller has been witness to as many of those memories as anyone. Now he has another one.

In honor of a gift of $750 thousand to support the modernization of the Hammermill Center, the storied hardwood within will now be known as Gary Miller Court. Through his gift, the Hammermill Center will undergo a complete modernization which will include new locker room, training facilities for the Gannon teams that utilize the center. Expansion plans also include a permanent home for the University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Gary Miller is a 1972 graduate of Gannon University with a Bachelor of Science in Business degree. His Miller Management Group operates auto dealerships in Florida and Erie.

Miller has served as a featured speaker at the annual convention of the National Automobile Dealers Association. He has been a Gannon Athletic Booster since 1974.  He is a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and in May 1984 was awarded Gannon University's Distinguished Alumni Award.  In 1997 he received the University's President Award and served as the first national president of the Gannon University alumni association. Miller was named to Gannon University's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.

"I have been very fortunate in my career and owe a great deal to the education I received at Gannon," Miller said. "To be able to give back to my alma mater in a meaningful way that supports a program that has meant so much to me and the Erie community was an opportunity Barbara and I could not pass up."

Miller has long been a supporter of Gannon University athletics through his membership in the Gannon Golden Knight Club. In 1984, he created the Gary Miller Classic as a single-game kickoff of the men's basketball season. In the two-day, four-team format adopted in 1987, the tournament has become a much-anticipated event on the local athletic calendar. 

"gary Miller's affection for Gannon University has been unparalleled," said Keith Taylor, Ph.D., Gannon University president. "We could think of no greater way to thank Gary and Barbara for their generosity and to honor their support of the University than to make Gary's name an important part of a place that he knows and loves so much."

"We cannot begin to thank Gary and Barbara Miller enough for their generosity and continued support of Gannon athletics," said Gannon University athletic director Lisa Goddard McGuirk. "Gary is passionate about Gannon athletics, particularly basketball, and I am delighted that student-athletes, coaches and our fans will be able to enjoy competition on the Gary Miller Court for years to come."

The Hammermill Center has been the home of Golden Knights since the 1949-50 season. The Gannon acrobatics and tumbling, competitive cheer, wrestling and volleyball programs also compete at the Hammermill Center.

Gannon greats such as Glen Summors, Butch Warner, Gerald Walker and Kyle Goldcamp, have had some of their finest moments on this court. The court has also been host to some of the nation's best basketball players, including NBA Hall of Fame member Julius Erving, and coaches, including University of Michigan head coach John Beilein, and former head coaches such as John Chaney, John Thompson and Dom Roselli.

The venerable building has many times been cited by opposing coaches as one of the toughest places for a visiting basketball team to win in direct recognition of Gannon's storied basketball tradition and devoted fans.

Gannon's men's basketball team has won more than 800 games in the Hammermill Center, and Gary Miller has seen many of those wins. Now he'll have something else to see from his front-row seat, painted in big, bold letters: Gary Miller Court.