A groundbreaking ceremony for the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication was held Thursday, April 29.

Participants included James E. Bultman, president of Hope College; the Rev. Paul Boersma, senior chaplain at Hope; Dr. James Boelkins, provost at Hope; Dr. Deirdre Johnston, chairperson of the department of communication; Dr. Sander DeHaan, chairperson of the department of modern and classical languages; Dr. Neal Sobania, director of international education; Vanessa Greene, director of multicultural life; Phil Miller, who is a member of the college's Board of Trustees and a son of Martha Miller; and Craig Nicely of the Design Plus architectural firm.

Following a program in the Maas Center, eight graduating international students, each carrying their own country's flag, led the gathering to the building site.

The groundbreaking itself was conducted by President Bultman, Phillip Miller; Craig Nicely; Joel Bouwens, who is chairperson of the college's Board of Trustees; Professor Emeritus Paul Fried, who is the founding director of international education; and Sarah Quesada-Lubbers, a Hope sophomore who is from Holland's sister city of Queretaro, Mexico, and a great-granddaughter of Hope's seventh president, Dr. Irwin Lubbers.

The Martha Miller Center for Global Communication will be built on Columbia Avenue between 10th and 11th streets, on property formerly occupied by Lincoln Elementary School.

The two-story, 49,000 square foot building will house the departments of communication and modern and classical languages, and the offices of international education and multicultural life, with an emphasis on ways that the four programs can interconnect.

The department of communication will be relocating from Lubbers Hall, and the department of modern and classical languages will relocate from Graves Hall. The office of international education will move from a home located in the center of campus, and the office of multicultural life will relocate from the college's DeWitt Center. The moves will in turn provide additional space in the existing facilities for use by other programs.

The Martha Miller Center is being named in honor of the late Martha Miller, a member of the college's Class of 1924, who died on Sunday, May 16, 1999, at age 96. Miller's family provided a $3 million leadership gift on behalf of the project through her estate.

Construction manager for the Martha Miller Center is Lakewood Construction Co. of Holland. The architectural firm is Design Plus of Grand Rapids.

Hope College is in the midst of the most ambitious campus development program in its 142-year history. Through the development of what is being called the new Eastern Gateway entrance, the size of the campus has increased by nearly 40 percent (55 to 77 acres). A groundbreaking ceremony for the $22 million Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse was held on Friday, April 23.

The projects are part of the college's current "Legacies: A Vision of Hope" fundraising campaign. Other major initiatives have included raising endowment and construction of the college's new science center and renovation of the existing Peale Science Center. The new science center opened in August of 2003, and the Peale renovation is scheduled to be completed for the start of the 2004-05 school year.