Dennos to expand thanks to record $2 million gift

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College today announced it has received its largest single gift by living donors, $2 million to expand the Dennos Museum Center beginning in 2016.

The gift from longtime college supporters Diana and Richard Milock will create a nearly 9,000-square-foot expansion on the east side of the museum, which opened its doors on the NMC campus in 1991.

The expansion will include:

  • Two new galleries dedicated to the museum’s permanent collection and sculpture
  • New classroom space
  • Improved loading dock
  • Increased storage area

The two new galleries in particular will enhance the ability of NMC faculty to use Dennos exhibit space as an extension of their classrooms. The community can also expect to see more works by outstanding local, national and international artists.

Donor Diana Milock said the combination of these benefits inspired the couple’s historic gift. “We saw this as an opportunity to have a major impact on a community resource that we think is really important to the life of Traverse City. We’re really just so excited to be able to do this.”

Art lovers and collectors themselves, the Milocks have supported both the Dennos and NMC’s Great Lakes Culinary Institute for more than a decade. Diana Milock also serves on the board of the NMC Foundation. The Milocks were named NMC Fellows, the college’s highest honor, in 2014.

“This gift from the Milocks speaks strongly to the support that Northwestern Michigan College has earned from this community and our shared desire to strengthen NMC’s role as a leader in providing cultural opportunities,” said NMC President Timothy J. Nelson.

The Milocks intend to name the permanent gallery the Eugene Jenneman Permanent Collection Gallery, a tribute to the museum’s founding executive director. Jenneman has guided the Dennos since before the museum was even built. Under his leadership the Dennos has built an impressive permanent collection of works, but not had the space to show it.

“I am pleased to see this next step in the direction of the Dennos take place in our coming 25th year,” Jenneman said. “With these permanent collection galleries we will be positioned to make our art collection more accessible on an ongoing basis and to develop more defined connections to the College’s academic programs.”

The intended name for the sculpture gallery is the Diana and Richard Milock Sculpture Gallery.

Traverse City architect John Dancer is completing drawings. Nelson hopes to bid the project in early 2016 and break ground later in the year.

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Northwestern Michigan College is a publicly funded community college that serves more than 50,000 learners annually throughout the Grand Traverse region and beyond. NMC offers associate degrees, professional certificates and bachelor’s degrees. The college is home to the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, the Great Lakes Culinary Institute as well as nationally recognized aviation and unmanned systems programs. For more information, visit Northwestern Michigan College at

The Michael and Barbara Dennos Museum Center at Northwestern Michigan College is the region’s premier cultural center offering world class programming in the visual and performing arts. The museum offers a changing array of exhibitions in three galleries and a sculpture court; features a "hands on" Discovery Gallery; and a Gallery of Inuit art, the museum’s major permanent collection. The museum’s 367-seat Milliken Auditorium offers concerts in blues, jazz, chamber and world music and hosts the productions of numerous performing arts groups in the region. For more information, visit the Dennos Museum Center at

Release date: September 15, 2015

For more information:

Rebecca Teahen
Executive Director for Resource Development and Foundation
(231) 995-1855


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.