The White House released a statement from the President on Thursday, October 21 on the life of Paul Miller ’86, who advised Presidents Obama and Clinton on disability and equal opportunity matters. Miller, a lawyer who was born with achondroplasia “dwarfism” and became a leader in the disability rights movement, died Tuesday at his home on Mercer Island, Wash. He was 49. In the statement, Obama said:
“I was saddened to learn of the passing of one of my staffers and a leader in the disability rights movement, Paul Miller. In a world where persons with disabilities are still too often told ‘you can’t,’ Paul spent his life proving the opposite. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School, Paul went on to become a law professor, disability law expert, one of the longest-serving commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an advisor to President Bill Clinton, and later, an invaluable advisor to me. But more important than any title or position was the work that drove him. He dedicated his life to a world more fair and more equal, and an America where all are free to pursue their full measure of happiness, and all of us are better off for it. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Jennifer, his daughters, Naomi and Delia, and all whose lives Paul touched.”
Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow issued the following statement: “Paul Miller was not only a major leader in the fields of employment discrimination and disability rights; he was a wise advisor to public officials, a creative thinker, and an extraordinary human being. I join the large number of alumni and friends who have sent expressions of deep sadness and loss, for Paul was my student, my colleague, and my friend. The legacy of his work will endure and the example of his life, lived with gusto, a rich sense of humor, and an amazing gift for empathizing with others, will long inspire people here and in so many other places.”
A professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, Miller was director of the university’s disabilities studies program. For 10 years before joining the faculty in 2004, he was a commissioner of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A profile of Miller and his work to combat workplace discrimination, “Equal Signs,” appeared in the Summer 2004 issue of the Harvard Law Bulletin.
The New York Times obituary is here.