In memoriam: Richard Miller, law school pioneer and community leader

Richard S. Miller, former dean and professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, died on March 30. He was 93 years old.

“Dean Miller was instrumental in establishing this law school, and we are grateful for his myriad contributions to our Richardson community and beyond,” said UH Law School Dean Camille Nelson. “We will miss him and offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends, especially his daughter, Richardson alumna Andrea Armitage ’84.”

Dean Miller served as associate dean from 1976 to 1977 and as dean from 1981 to 1984. He was also a professor and emeritus professor. In addition, he helped to compile and prepare the history of the law school. Dean Miller was an expert in torts, conflict of laws, and health insurance.

In 1985, Dean Miller was pivotal in securing a USIA Grant for a faculty exchange program between Richardson and the Hiroshima University School of Law. He was a visiting professor at Hiroshima University in 1986 and Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand the following year.

An active community member, he also served on several boards, including the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaiʻi, the Media Council Hawaiʻi, and the Kokua Council. He was also a member of the American Law Institute and a legal consultant for the Hawaiʻi Coalition for Health. His work with the coalition earned him the 1999 Volunteer of the Year Award from the Hawaiʻi Medical Association Alliance.

He earned a B.S. in business from Boston University and a J.D. from Yale University. He also served as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and was stationed in Germany.

A quintessential law professor and prolific writer, he taught at schools nationwide, including Wayne State University in Michigan and Ohio State University, before moving to Hawaiʻi to help establish Richardson.

He is survived by his wife, Betty Sugarman; children, Andrea Armitage (Nelson) and Matthew Miller; grandson Samuel Armitage; and stepdaughter Toby Wilson.

The law school plans to hold a memorial on campus in the fall. Read more about Dean Miller’s life and legacy here.