MillerKnoll and Hip-Hop Architect Michael Ford Partner to Support Detroit Student Pursuing Degree in Design

Monday, December 6, 2021, was no ordinary school day for Sarah Shaw-Nichols, a senior student at Cass Tech High School in Detroit, MI. Shaw-Nichols was in class when she received an unexpected visitor.

Michael Ford, known as The Hip-Hop Architect, surprised Shaw-Nichols with a $10,000 scholarship toward college tuition, sponsored by MillerKnoll’s global corporate giving program.

Shaw-Nichols has been focusing on an architecture-based curriculum at school, and Ford wanted to award one of the students in the program. Cass Tech High School is Ford’s alma-mater, and the school has designated a day in early December each year as “Mike Ford Day.”

“It’s an extreme honor to return to Cass Tech to provide The Hip Hop Architecture Camp Scholarship this year sponsored by MillerKnoll,” said Ford. “Sarah is very deserving of this scholarship and was selected by her counselors, teachers, and principal as a young person who embodies the legacy of excellence at Cass Tech inside and outside of the classroom.”

Sarah plans on pursuing a degree in architecture and is considering schools including Cornell University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Detroit Mercy.

“Empowering the next generation of design professionals is imperative for the future of our industry,” said Linda Brand, Executive Director of MillerKnoll’s corporate giving program. “Continuing our partnership with Mike and watching the impact he's making on young lives around the nation is an honor.”

Ford’s partnership with MillerKnoll dates back to 2020 when Herman Miller, part of the MillerKnoll collective of brands, partnered with Ford to host Conversations for Change, a series of open and honest conversations about racial disparities and actions that can be executed to create positive and lasting change. The conversations were centered around Ford’s remixed version of Herman Miller’s iconic Eames Lounge Chair – handwritten with the names of victims of racism in the US, symbolizing that these individuals – Black men, women, and children were not afforded the privilege of refuge.

MillerKnoll is committed to creating an equitable environment with greater opportunities for the Black community and other underrepresented groups by providing funding for design education opportunities and partnering with nonprofit organizations that share a passion for justice and equality. Read more about the Actions we’re taking to redesign the future and the progress we’re making on Our Progress page.

About MillerKnoll   

MillerKnoll is a collective of dynamic brands that comes together to design the world we live in. MillerKnoll includes Herman Miller and Knoll, plus Colebrook Bosson Saunders, DatesWeiser, Design Within Reach, Edelman Leather, Fully, Geiger, HAY, Holly Hunt, KnollTextiles, Maars Living Walls, Maharam, Muuto, naughtone, and Spinneybeck|FilzFelt. MillerKnoll is an unparalleled platform that redefines modern for the 21st century by building a more sustainable, equitable, and beautiful future for everyone. 

About Herman Miller 

Herman Miller is a globally recognized leader in design. Since its inception in 1905, the company’s innovative, problem-solving designs and furnishings have inspired the best in people. Herman Miller is guided by an enduring legacy of design, innovation, and social good. In 2021, Herman Miller and Knoll created MillerKnoll, a collective of dynamic brands that comes together to design the world we live in.