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The Marshall University Foundation is pleased to announce that the Dutch Miller Auto Group has pledged a gift of $1 million in support of the Brad D. Smith Center for Business and Innovation at Marshall University.

The new state-of-the-art facility for the Lewis College of Business and Brad D. Smith Schools of Business is slated to be built in the 1400 block of 4th Avenue on a plot of land that formerly housed The Flats on 4th apartment complex. The building is scheduled to open in January of 2024.

The building, which will also serve as a center for the economic development of the region, will provide for conference facilities capable of hosting both small and large business gatherings. Additionally, the building will serve as the hub for student centric activities, providing students not only with instructional facilities but also facilities encouraging interaction and collaboration.

“I cannot imagine anything more important to the overall success of the economic development of the city of Huntington and the region than doing our part to help fund a business school that will revolutionize and transform the way we do business in the 21st and 22nd centuries,” said Chris Miller, co-owner of the Dutch Miller Auto Group and member of the Marshall University Board of Governors. “As Marshall goes, so goes Huntington. The correlation and connection between adding thousands of students to the city and what those students will do for Huntington and the region as far as economic development is substantial.”

Through a generous gift from Brad and Alys Smith, the new facility for the Lewis College of Business will become a reality in the very near future. Modern business school facilities require space designs that are organic and capable of growing and morphing to keep pace with a rapidly evolving business environment and that is forefront in the design of the new business school on the Huntington, West Virginia, campus.

“We couldn’t be more excited about what this incredible business school is going to mean for the region, for the city of Huntington and for Marshall,” said Ron Area, CEO of the Marshall University Foundation. “And it is only possible through the generous support of individuals like Chris Miller and his family. We are proud to team with great partners like the Dutch Miller Automotive Group and others in bringing the very best educational opportunities to the students at Marshall University.”

Incorporating the latest in technological enhancements and maintaining an open architecture capable of expanding and being reconfigured based upon changes and demands in the environment, the facility will incorporate classrooms that encourage active learning environments of various types. Included are rooms that can be reconfigured on the fly to accommodate modular interactions, stadium-type large capacity lecture rooms, computer-enhanced labs, media capture facilities and much more.

“I believe this could be the most advanced business school in a five-state area,” Miller said. “What Brad Smith is bringing to the table, and what Marshall University is designing, is something that pivots away from the standard school of business thought process and opens up the doors of really exploring thought and adapting to the new potential market-based curriculums. This advanced curriculum is a game changer for higher education in this area and across the country. And the more ahead of the curve we are, the more successful we are going to be.”

Dutch Miller Auto was founded by H.D. “Dutch” Miller in 1961 with the opening of Dutch Miller Chevrolet in Huntington, West Virginia. Now owned and operated by Miller’s son, Matt, and two grandsons, Chris and Sam Miller, the business has grown to include Chevrolet, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram, Hyundai and Kia models.

Dutch Miller Auto currently employs approximately 300 people in the Tri-State from its Huntington, Barboursville and Charleston locations, along with serving the greater Charlotte, North Carolina, metro area.

“I believe that any business in a community forms a symbiotic relationship, and for me it is a privilege to do business in this community,” Miller said. “I feel there is a social and moral obligation for a business to make a community that it is privileged enough to do business in better. Giving back to Marshall University and its business school is just one of the many ways that we feel we can do just that.”