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Miller Center of Public Affairs, 2013
Miller Center of Public Affairs, 2013

The Miller Center is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in United States presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history.[1]


The Miller Center was founded in 1975 through the philanthropy of Burkett Miller, a 1914 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and prominent Tennessean, in honor of his father, White Burkett Miller.[2] Troubled by the partisan rancor he saw developing throughout the nation, Miller envisioned a place where leaders, scholars, and the public could come together for discussion grounded in history in order to find solutions. Through Miller's lead gift, as well as through past and present gifts by the Center's supporters, the Miller Center's combined endowment now[when?] stands at more than $70 million. The Center, under the oversight of its Governing Council, is an integral part of the University of Virginia, with maximum autonomy within the University system. Its programs are supported fully by funds it solicits (through the Miller Center Foundation) and its endowment.[1]


The Presidential Oral History Program interviews the principal figures in presidential administrations to create a historical record in the words of those who knew each administration best. The oral histories of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton have been released; the history of George W. Bush is in progress.[3]

The Presidential Recordings Program researches, transcribes, and annotates the thousands of hours of secret White House tapes recorded by U.S. presidents, from Franklin Roosevelt to Richard Nixon.[4]

The National Fellowship Program funds and supports PhD candidates who are studying the historical roots of today's policy issues. The program pairs fellows with leading scholars in their field, and teaches them how to make their scholarship more accessible to the public.[5]

Academic Programs conduct scholarly study of modern political and presidential history, and convene conferences and symposia on the historical roots of contemporary policy issues.[6]

Policy Programs bring together scholars, policymakers, and stakeholders to develop insights – grounded in scholarship and based on the lessons of history – to illuminate and offer solutions to the nation's policy challenges.[7]

American Forum is the Miller Center's weekly public affairs television program featuring interviews with national leaders, newsmakers, scholars, and journalists.[8] It is distributed to public television by the National Educational Telecommunications Association.

American President: An Online Reference Resource provides in-depth information on every presidential administration, including essays on all aspects of that administration that have been written or reviewed by presidential scholars.[9]

Connecting Presidential Collections is a free centralized website that allows users to search presidential collections across the country.[10]


William J. Antholis is director and CEO of the Miller Center. Eugene V. Fife is the chair of the Center's Governing Council, and Joseph R. Gladden Jr. is the chair of the Miller Center Foundation's Board of Directors. The president and rector of the University of Virginia serve as ex officio members of both bodies.[1]

Previous directors include Dr. Phillip Zelikow (1999-2005), currently White Burkett Miller Professor History at the University of Virginia and previously the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, in addition to numerous posts in many levels of government service. Dr. Kenneth W. Thompson, who had previously served as the Vice President for International Programs at the Rockefeller Foundation, led the Center from 1978 to 1998. He created and expanded the Center's Forum program (which he ran until 2004), its Presidential Oral History Program (with James Young), and the Miller Center Bipartisan National Commissions. The Center's longest serving director, Professor Thompson was also the J. Wilson Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia and the author of many books on international affairs published by LSU Press and the Miller Center. [11]

University of Virginia office

The core of the Miller Center's facilities is the historic Faulkner House, built in 1856 and named for novelist William Faulkner, the University's writer-in-residence in 1957. Faulkner House was the home of United States Senator Thomas S. Martin, who represented Virginia in the U.S. Senate from 1895 to 1919 and served as majority leader. In 1989, the Center added the Newman Pavilion, which houses the Forum Room, and in 2003, it built the Thompson Pavilion and Scripps Library. The additions are prominent examples of new traditional architecture.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "About the Miller Center". University of Virginia.
  2. ^ "Origins". Miller Center of Public Affairs. Retrieved July 27, 2016. He founded the White Burkett Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia in memory of his father.
  3. ^ "Presidential Oral History". University of Virginia.
  4. ^ "Presidential Recordings Program". University of Virginia.
  5. ^ "Miller Center National Fellowship". University of Virginia.
  6. ^ "Scholarship at the Miller Center". University of Virginia. Archived from the original on 2015-02-07. Retrieved 2015-01-20.
  7. ^ "Policy Programs". University of Virginia.
  8. ^ "The Miller Center American Forum". University of Virginia.
  9. ^ "American President: A Reference Resource". University of Virginia.
  10. ^ "Connecting Presidential Collections". Institute of Museum and Library Services.
  11. ^ Langer, Emily (12 February 2013). "Kenneth W. Thompson, director of University of Virginia's Miller Center, dies". Retrieved 25 April 2018 – via