William Smith College for Women accepted its first class in 1908, sharing the campus of Hobart College, a long-established men’s school, while rigidly segregating the sexes. The new college quickly overwhelmed Hobart’s existing residential capacity. Partly closeted freethinker William Smith, who had founded the College with a gift of approximately $500,000, made an additional gift to construct the College’s first new residence hall. It would be named for Elizabeth Smith Miller, the suffrage activist and close friend of Smith’s who had helped persuade him to launch a women’s college, and who had made gifts of her own to meet its operating expenses.
In 1911, the year of Miller’s death, Smith (aged 91) laid the cornerstone of the new residence. Miller Hall has been in use continually since its opening, receiving upgrades as required. It currently houses forty-two students of William Smith College.