Published July 21, 2022
When Luis Chiesa joined the faculty at the School of Law in 2013, 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 Miller, who taught at the law school from 1995 to 2014, and at the time of her death last year was SUNY’s senior vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and chief diversity officer. The professorship was created with generous support from former SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson, with whom Miller worked closely, and 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 also serves as the law school’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’s 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.
“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,” says Dean Aviva Abramovsky.
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.