When Professor Luis Chiesa came to the School of Law in 2013, Professor Teresa Miller was among the first of his new faculty colleagues to welcome him aboard. They had a common interest in criminal procedure, and she was supportive of a Zoom lecture series he created. Now that collegial relationship has come full circle, as Chiesa has been named the inaugural Dr. Teresa A. Miller Professor of Law.
The named professorship—the sixth such endowment at the law school—honors the memory of Professor Miller, who taught at UB Law from 1995 to 2014 and at the time of her death last year was the State University of New York’s senior vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and chief diversity officer. The professorship was created with generous support from former SUNY Chancellor Dr. Kristina Johnson, with whom Miller worked closely, and Dr. Johnson’s wife, Veronica Meinhard.
“I am very honored and humbled to be appointed to this professorship and to hold this title bearing Teri’s name” says Chiesa, who serves as UB Law’s vice dean for diversity, equity and inclusion. “I see myself in a sense following in Teri’s footsteps, especially in DEI work, which is what Teri devoted the last decade-plus of her life to.”
The designation comes with funding for special projects, and Chiesa says he is creating an initiative that will send instructors into New York State prisons—including Attica, about which Miller made two documentaries—to teach meditation practices to inmates and corrections officers.
Says UB Law Dean Aviva Abramovsky: “Luis’ leadership of our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and his excellence in teaching and mentoring the next generation of compassionate legal professionals embody the spirit of Teri’s work and her commitment to inclusivity and student success.”
The named professorship was established through UB’s Scholars of Excellence program, designed to spur the growth of prestigious endowed faculty positions across the university.