Georgetown University Law Center recently announced the establishment of the Honorable George J. Mitchell, L’61 Professorship in Law and Public Policy. The professorship was created to commemorate Mitchell’s time at Georgetown, as well as his subsequent career in public service as a Democratic senator from Maine.

Professor of constitutional law David Cole was selected to serve as the inaugural professor.

“It’s a huge honor to be selected for this chair,” Cole said. “Sen. Mitchell is one of Georgetown’s superstars, a national hero and perhaps the most important international peacemaker of our time.”

The professorship will honor the work of Sen. Mitchell (D-M.E.), one of the nation’s most respected public servants. Mitchell spent 15 years as U.S. Senator from Maine, acting as the Senate Majority Leader from 1989 until his departure in 1995. Some of his efforts include the 1990 reauthorization of the Clean Air Act, the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the creation of a low-income housing tax credit program.

The professorship will be endowed through the donations of J. Clifford Hudson (LAW ’80), CEO of Sonic Corp., and Lee Miller (LAW ’73), global co-chairman of DLA Piper.

Miller emphasized his support for the professorship in light of Sen. Mitchell’s distinguished legacy.

“Sen. Mitchell has worked tirelessly to advance the cause of human rights and to seek creative solutions to global issues,” Miller said in a press release. “His lifelong work reflects Georgetown Law’s values and underlying principles of commitment to public service and active engagement in the global community.”

After his time in the Senate, Mitchell went on to serve as a special advisor to President Clinton, ultimately brokering the Good Friday Agreement between Ireland, the United Kingdom and the political parties in Northern Ireland. Mitchell currently serves as partner and chairman emeritus at DLA Piper.

“It’s more than a bit daunting to assume a chair associated with such an accomplished and respected man. I only hope I can live up to its name,” Cole said.

Law School Dean William M. Treanor voiced his support for Cole’s selection.

“David is a superb choice to fill this professorship. We are all proud to have David as our colleague,” Treanor said in a press release.

Cole has taught at Georgetown Law since 1990 as a professor of constitutional law, national security and criminal justice. Known for his commitment to public justice and his advocacy for civil liberties, Cole has briefed or argued in seven Supreme Court cases. Additionally, he does pro bono litigation and regularly writes for The New York Review of Books and The Nation.

Cole said that he recognizes the opportunity this professorship presents and hopes to use it to further Georgetown’s hallmark values of social justice.

“I will continue to teach, write and advocate for justice for the most vulnerable,” Cole said. “I am deeply grateful to Georgetown for its Jesuit-based commitment to justice.”

Originally scheduled for Mar. 3, Cole’s inaugural address has been postponed until further notice due to inclement weather.

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