David Y. Miller Named Director of Pitt’s Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law, Public Policy

Issue Date: 
April 6, 2009
David Y. MillerDavid Y. Miller

David Y. Miller, a professor and director of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs' (GSPIA) Innovation Clinic in the University of Pittsburgh, has been appointed the inaugural director of Pitt’s Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy. As director, Miller will help integrate the forum into the larger University academic community through the development of programs that reflect the career and interests of Pitt alumnus and trustee Thornburgh, a former two-term Pennsylvania governor and attorney general of the United States under both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Thornburgh also served as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Administration and Management and director of the Institute for Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Established in 2007, the Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy provides a unique opportunity to foster public education and civic action on important public policy issues, building on Thornburgh’s legacy by creating a framework for advancing his vision of creating effective and principled governance. The forum engages in a variety of activities that enhance the accountability and integrity of governmental institutions at the local, state, and national levels. Internationally, it seeks to advance those values as well as the commitment to rule of law for all levels of government.

“The Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy is a unique resource from which students, scholars, and the general public will benefit in perpetuity,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “I am certain that David Miller will lead the Forum in ways that will advance our shared understandings of important public policy issues and do honor to the Thornburgh legacy.”

“David Miller is well-equipped by background and experience to lead the Dick Thornburgh Forum on Law and Public Policy in enriching and adding value to University academic programs in a number of areas,” said Thornburgh. “It is my expectation that the Archival Collection and programs conducted by the Forum will, under Dr. Miller’s leadership, aid students and scholars alike in furthering their understanding of issues of the day.”

Since 1998, Miller has served as a professor and associate dean in Pitt’s GSPIA, where he has been responsible for the graduate and undergraduate curricula and is a member of the graduate faculty of the University. He also has served as interim dean of GSPIA and as codirector and professor at GSPIA’s Center for Public Policy and Management in Macedonia. He received his baccalaureate degree cum laude from Syracuse University in political science, master’s degree in public administration from Kent State University, and doctorate in public policy research and analysis from GSPIA.

In making the announcement, Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher noted, “I have great confidence that Dr. Miller will provide the dynamic leadership and important administrative skills needed to lead the Thornburgh Forum to advance its mission and the values of Governor Thornburgh.”

Thornburgh is a graduate of the University’s law school. In addition to his service as Pennsylvania’s top elected official and the nation’s top prosecutor, he earlier served as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He currently is counsel to the international law firm K&L Gates in its Washington, D.C., office.

Thornburgh has been a Pitt trustee since 2000. In 1998, he presented to the University Library System his extensive personal papers, which are the foundation of the Library’s planned State and Local Government Archives program. Designed to showcase Thornburgh’s legacy, the Pitt Hillman Library’s Dick Thornburgh Room, dedicated in 2007, is a glass-enclosed reading and research room with natural teak walls and floor-to-ceiling windows. Large glass cases flank the entrance and provide museum-quality display space for items from Pitt’s Dick Thornburgh Archive Collection. The Thornburgh Room has been designed to be fully compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, reflecting Thornburgh and his wife Ginny’s lifelong commitment to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.

The Thornburghs, who in 2003 received the Henry B. Betts Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities, donated the $50,000 Betts Award funds to Pitt to establish The Thornburgh Family Lecture Series in Disability Law and Policy through Pitt’s School of Law and School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, in conjunction with Pitt’s Dick Thornburgh Archival Collection.