Remembering Thomas V. Mike Miller ’67

Maryland Senate President Emeritus Mike Miller ’67 (left) with Dean Donald Tobin

The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law community mourns the loss of longtime Maryland Senate President Emeritus Mike Miller ’67, who passed away on Jan. 15.  

We lost a great Maryland leader,” said Dean Donald Tobin. “He loved Maryland, and he loved helping other people succeed. He will be greatly missed.” 

With his commanding presence and distinctive head of white hair, Miller served as president of the Maryland Senate for 33 years, longer than any other Senate president in Maryland history, and spent a total of 50 years in the Maryland legislature. The Senate office building in Annapolis is named after Miller.  

A Democrat, Miller presided over a progressive agenda, with major accomplishments associated with health care, education, and the Chesapeake Bay. Miller drove the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership between the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the University of Maryland, College Park, strengthening the University System of Maryland’s impact on education, research, entrepreneurship, and economic development.  

The Prince George’s County native was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 and stepped down from his role as Senate president in January 2020. His successor Sen. Bill Ferguson, a 2010 Maryland Carey Law graduate, swiftly moved a portrait of Miller into the Senate chamber so it would hang behind the former president’s desk for his final session as a rank-and-file senator.  

“Each member of the Senate has his or her own Mike story,” Ferguson said in a statement, recalling Miller’s ability to build personal relationships. “...I hope the public will listen and get a glimpse of the impact Mike made.” 

Born in Clinton, Maryland, Miller was the oldest of 10 siblings. He attended the University of Maryland, College Parkgraduating with a degree in business administration in 1964, and continued on for a law degree from then University of Maryland School of Law in 1967. That same year, Miller was admitted to the Maryland bar and began practicing law in his hometown. Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., P.A. remains vital, with practice areas in criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, family law, and workers’ compensation. The firm has offices in Prince George’s and Calvert counties. 

Miller won a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1970 and switched to the state Senate in 1974, representing the 27th District, which includes parts of Calvert, Charles, and Prince George’s counties. In 1983, he was elected chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, a role he held until becoming Senate president in 1987. From 1994 to 2000, Miller headed the national Democratic Legislative Campaign, raising money and helping Democrats get elected in state legislatures across the nation.  

In law school, Miller met classmate U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin ’67. Shortly after Miller’s death, Cardin tweeted, “Mike Miller was larger than life, a good friend, a good man who loved his family and community, and an incredible public servant who dedicated himself to his beloved Maryland … Our lives were intertwined, starting with our days together at the University of Maryland Law School and then serving together in the Maryland General Assembly. Myrna and I were privileged to have Mike Miller in our lives for all these years. 

Also during his time in law school, in 1965, Miller married his wife, Patti. She and their five children Melissa, Michelle, Melanie, Amanda, and Tommy survive the senator. He also left behind 15 grandchildren, one of whom—Michael Scott ’21— is a third-year student at Maryland Carey Law. “I am so proud to be the grandson of such a great man. He was my hero and my inspiration in attending law school,” said Scott. “I am honored to attend his alma mater and hope to carry his positive legacy on in the future.” 

Following his death at age 78, Miller lay in state in the rotunda of the Maryland State House for two days in January, a suitable honor for a man who published these words on his website: “It remains the greatest honor of my life to serve our community in the Maryland Senate. 

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