MARQUETTE  -- The Dan and Pamella DeVos and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundations, both of Grand Rapids, have made a joint $1 million campaign gift to NMU’s Art Museum as part of This Decisive Season: The Campaign for Northern Michigan University.

“The NMU students, faculty, staff and alumni are thrilled to receive a gift of this magnitude for our art museum, and we sincerely thank the DeVos family for choosing to invest in Northern,” said NMU President Judi Bailey. “We are also pleased to have Dan, our former Board of Trustees chair, his wife Pam, and Richard and Helen DeVos, honorary degree recipients, remain active members of the Northern community.”

Dan was appointed by former Gov. John Engler to NMU’s Board of Trustees in April 1995.  He was the Board’s chair from January 2001 until his term’s expiration in December 2003.  He currently serves on NMU’s Cisler College of Business Advisory Council.

Richard and Helen, founders of the Amway Corporation, were awarded NMU honorary degrees in 1998.  Richard served as the speaker at that year’s mid-year commencement ceremony. 

“It was a great honor to have served on Northern’s governing board for the past eight years and to watch the university excel in so many areas,” said Dan DeVos.  “My parents, my wife and I believe that Northern is as fine an educational institution as found anywhere in the country. We are happy to create this endowment for the NMU Art Museum, knowing that in doing so it will help to continue a Northern commitment to bring quality art to its students and the people of the Upper Peninsula.”

 Michael Cinelli, head of the art and design department, says that the DeVos endowment will be used primarily for museum programming.

“The generosity of the DeVos Foundations will provide us with the on-going funds that will enable Northern to bring major exhibits to its art museum on a regular basis,” said Cinelli.  “This gift will also open up all kinds of horizons for the NMU art and design faculty and students.”


The NMU Art Museum will be renamed the DeVos Art Museum at the completion of East campus renovation project, according to Bailey. 

As part of the renovation, the art museum will be moved from its current location in Lee Hall to the Art and Design North Building.  The new museum will feature two art galleries within the museum, one for rotating exhibits – including student and community exhibits – and the other for exhibits from NMU’s large permanent collection. The Art and Design North Building construction is scheduled to be complete by the start of the fall 2004 semester.

“The DeVos gift will take us from a small university museum to the level of a significant art center,” said Wayne Francis, director of the NMU Art Museum.  “Not only will the endowment help us bring in the highest level of exhibits, but we will be able to plan several years out, knowing the funding for such exhibits is secure.  This is a very exciting time for NMU’s art and design program, the university and the regional art community.”


– Prepared by Cindy Paavola

Note to media: Pamella is spelled with two l's.

Prepared By
Cindy Paavola
Director of Communications