Dear Mom Law school mourns passing of dean of students

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By Jo Mathis

Legal News

The Wayne State University Law School community is mourning the death of an administrator so personable and supportive, many called her "Mom."

Dean of Students Michele Miller, who was known for her open door policy, big hugs, and love of the color purple, will be remembered at a memorial service Friday, six days after her death.

Aisa Villarosa Berg, a 2011 graduate, said no school day was complete without stopping by Miller's office for a quick chat or venting session.

"Dean Miller worked closely with the law school student organizations and their leaders, providing invaluable support and going above and beyond the duties of an administrator," said Berg. "She was a teacher, a mentor, a welcomed source of humor in stressful situations, a babysitter for the children of those attending law school while providing for their families, and a friend to all regardless of age or position."

Miller graduated from Wayne Law in 1986, and a year later, returned to work at the school in a number of capacities. For the last decade, she was dean of students.

Third year student Nadia Hamade said Miller always had a supply of Altoids at her desk available to anyone who wanted to stop in to chat.

"My young daughters remember Michele Miller as 'the really nice lady who wore that pretty purple color and gave us popcorn,'" said Hamade. "I remember Michele Miller as the wonderful woman who saw something in me and gave me the nudge I needed to keep going."

Berg, said Miller approved of her husband-to-be, Eric Berg, before her own parents did.

"She was the first friend Eric made at Wayne Law, and we grew to spend many hours chatting with her in her office," she said. "She was set to attend our wedding reception this September. We still plan on decorating her table with purple and butterflies, her two favorite items."

Cards and messages of condolence can be sent to the Law School, in care of the Dean of Students Office at 471 West Palmer Street, Detroit, MI 48202. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in Wayne State University's Community Arts Auditorium.

Contributions may be sent to the Michele R. Miller memorial fund that is being established to support and enrich academic support programs. To support the fund, contact the Wayne Law Office of Development and Alumni Relations at (313) 577-3113 or silverstein@wayne.edu.

Many students, staff and faculty have written online tributes to the dean on her memorial site at http://law.wayne.edu/michele-miller.php.

Published: Fri, Sep 2, 2011

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