Minnesota Law

Fall 2020
Why I Give

Why I Give: Michelle Miller ’86

Michelle Miller ’86, chair of the Minnesota Law Board of Advisors and Vice President, Chief Counsel, Employment Law at Medtronic

For Michelle Miller ’86—chair of the Minnesota Law Board of Advisors and Vice President, Chief Counsel, Employment Law at Medtronic—giving is grounded in family tradition. “One of the adages my family lived by is ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’ We weren’t wealthy people, but we believed that whatever blessings we had were to be shared.”

Education was another central tenet. “My father believed that education was the answer—that the way for African Americans in the United States to progress and overcome the inequities that we see and to which we’re subjected was through education. As my sister, brother, and I grew up, the one value that we heard the most about was education. And that has driven much of the work I have done.

“I believe in philanthropy, that we should give where we perceive we can make the most difference. I believe African Americans are still underrepresented… in the practice of law—that there should be more opportunities and more encouragement for those opportunities. One way to enhance those possibilities is to provide whatever financial contributions my husband, Al and I, can give to the Law School.”

HOMETOWN: Miller has lived in Minneapolis since 1971, but “Mississippi is home.”

GIVING: Murphy Society member

WHAT YOU WON’T FIND ON HER RESUME: That when she started law school, Miller thought she’d be a civil rights litigator and change the world. “My goal is still to make a difference,” she says. “No one person changes the world. We all work on our little corners of the world and hope that we are able to collaborate withlike-minded people and then make a difference.”

ADVICE TO FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS:  “You need to answer three questions: Who are you, really—what are your values, what are you really about? What price are you willing to pay for something called success? And what is success anyway?”