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Glenda Murray
Poynter Center

Last modified: Monday, June 30, 2003

New director appointed for IU's Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions

NOTE: A publication-quality digital image of Miller may be available. Contact David Bricker of IU Media Relations at 812-856-9035 or to obtain it.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University today (June 30) announced the selection of Richard B. Miller as the next director of the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions, a research center at IU Bloomington. Miller's appointment will become effective July 1. He succeeds David H. Smith, who is retiring.

Miller is a professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington. He will continue to teach in religious studies. He joined the IU faculty in 1985 and has held numerous departmental and university responsibilities. In addition to serving as department chair since 2000, he has been a member of the American Studies Program since 1994 and an affiliate faculty with the IU Center for Bioethics since 2002.

He is the author of Interpretations of Conflict: Ethics, Pacifism and the Just-War Tradition (University of Chicago Press, 1991), Casuistry and Modern Ethics: A Poetics of Practical Reasoning (University of Chicago Press, 1996) and many articles and chapters on religious ethics and moral philosophy. His most recent book, Children, Ethics and Modern Medicine, was published last month by IU Press and resulted from a Lilly Endowment-funded research project through the Poynter Center that enabled him to immerse himself in different pediatric medical contexts as a component of his research.

"One of my dreams as a scholar has been to find myself in a position to address ethical questions across a broad range of issues and constituencies," Miller said, "and directing the Poynter Center will allow me to take up that challenge. David Smith has left the center with a strong set of national connections, a wonderful staff and a clear sense of purpose. I'm thrilled by this opportunity, and I look forward with excitement to serving the university, the community and the public in my new role."

Smith served as the center's director since 1982. He is a faculty member of the Department of Religious Studies. During his tenure at the Poynter Center, the center received grants totaling $4.7 million and published 29 monographs.

"Rich Miller is one of the ablest scholars of ethics in his generation. He is insightful, industrious and creative. He has written brilliantly on subjects ranging from pornography to terrorism. Into the bargain he is an imaginative and seasoned administrator and a great teacher," Smith said. "I was proud to follow William Lee Miller as director and couldn't ask for a stronger successor than Richard. He's a wonderful guy and a good friend, and he will take the center to a higher level."

"I am confident that Professor Miller will continue with the center's nationally known research in bioethics, religion, teaching ethics and professional ethics," said Michael A. McRobbie, IU vice president for research. "This builds on the Poynter Center's outstanding research in many aspects of American political, social and medical life during the past three decades."

The Poynter Center was established in 1972 with a gift from the late Nelson Poynter, an IU alumnus who was chairman of the board of the Times Publishing Co., which publishes the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly.