Georgetown Law Establishes Senator Mitchell Professorship, Selects David Cole as Inaugural Professor

February 18, 2014 —

Professor David D. Cole Professor David D. Cole

Georgetown University Law Center is pleased to announce the creation of the Hon. George J. Mitchell, L’61 Professorship in Law and Public Policy. Professor David D. Cole will be installed as the inaugural professor on March 3, 2014. The professorship was established to honor alumnus Senator Mitchell at an institution that helped prepare him for his distinguished career in public service. 

“George Mitchell has long been one of my heroes, for his unstinting commitment to the public good, and for his willingness to tackle some of the world's most divisive controversies in a search for peace and reconciliation,” said Cole. “I am honored and humbled to take this professorship, and am deeply grateful to those whose generosity made it possible.”

“David is a superb choice to fill this professorship,” said Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor. “His deep commitment to the public good aligns with Senator Mitchell’s values and record of service. We are all proud to have David as our colleague.” 

Cole joined Georgetown Law in 1990, where he teaches constitutional law, national security and criminal justice. He has devoted his career to fighting for public justice and is widely recognized as a leading legal advocate for civil liberties. Even as a professor, he continues to litigate and has been involved in many of the nation’s most important cases focused on national security and civil liberties. He has briefed or argued seven constitutional rights cases before the Supreme Court, is the author or co-author of several award-winning books, and writes regularly for the New York Review of Books and The Nation.

Mitchell, partner and chairman emeritus at DLA Piper, served as a Trial Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, as United States Attorney for Maine, and as a U.S. District Judge for Maine. He spent 15 years as U.S. Senator from Maine, ultimately serving as Senate Majority Leader from 1989 until he left Congress in 1995.  During his time in the Senate, Mitchell led the 1990 reauthorization of the Clean Air Act, played an instrumental role in passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and was principal author of the low-income housing tax credit program, among many other accomplishments. He served as a special advisor to President Bill Clinton on Ireland and as independent chairman of the Northern Ireland Peace Talks.  With Mitchell’s guidance, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the political parties of Northern Ireland reached the historic Good Friday Agreement, ending decades of conflict. Mitchell also served as Chairman of the International Commission on Violence in the Middle East in 2000 and 2001, and as U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace from January 2009 to May 2011. He headed the investigation and report on the use of performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball in 2006-07. 

The Hon. George J. Mitchell, L’61 professorship was made possible by the generosity of alumni J. Clifford Hudson, L’80, chairman, CEO and president of Sonic Corp., Lee I. Miller, L’73, global co-chairman of DLA Piper, and DLA Piper. Hudson serves as chairman of the Georgetown Law Board of Visitors, and Miller is a member. 

"Senator Mitchell and his exceptional career represent the characteristics most admirable about Georgetown Law,” said Hudson. “His pursuit of strong academic preparation, a career of public service and a desire to improve the life circumstance of those most in need speak to the values he shares with a Jesuit life of service. His wonderfully exhibited values and widely varied path led my wife, Leslie, and me to want to celebrate Senator Mitchell's association with Georgetown with this honor."

"I am proud to support the George J. Mitchell Professorship in Law and Public Policy,” said Miller. “Senator Mitchell has worked tirelessly to advance the cause of human rights and to seek creative solutions to global issues,” said Miller. “His lifelong work reflects Georgetown Law's values and underlying principles of commitment to public service and active engagement in the global community."

For details and to view a media advisory of the inaugural address, click here.