Alumna to Become First African-American Woman to Head Georgia Court of Appeals


MACON — Mercer University undergraduate and law school alumna, Judge M. Yvette Miller, will become the first African-American woman to hold the position of chief judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals when she is officially sworn in Jan. 6, 2009, at the Georgia State Capitol.

In October, Judge Gary Blaylock Andrews, senior judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals, made the motion that unanimously selected Judge Miller, by acclamation, as chief judge of one of the busiest appellate courts in the United States. Elected by her peers to serve a two-year term, Judge Miller will be responsible for the administration on the court and will act as the head of the court for ceremonial purposes and for all communications.

“Judge Miller stands in a long line of Mercer graduates who have distinguished themselves and their alma mater through dedicated public service to our state and nation,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “We are very proud of Judge Yvette Miller and her accomplishments and wish her the very best as she leads the Georgia Court of Appeals.”

First appointed to the state Court of Appeals in 1999 by Gov. Roy Barnes, Judge Miller has been re-elected statewide, without opposition, for two six-year terms. Before that appointment, Gov. Zell Miller appointed her to the state court of Fulton County, and she was re-elected as a trial judge on the state court without opposition. Previously, she served as director and judge of the Appellate Division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, where she was the first woman, first African American, and youngest person ever to hold that position.

“Judge Miller personifies the Mercer Lawyer in her skills as a lawyer and judge, her commitment to justice and the public good, and her dedication to her alma maters,” said Mercer Law School Dean Daisy Hurst Floyd.

“She continues to shatter glass ceilings for women and African Americans across the country. The entire Mercer University School of Law family salutes her and this extraordinary historical feat in becoming the first African-America woman chief justice of the George Court of Appeals.”

Judge Miller was born and raised in Macon. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Mercer University in 1977 and her law degree from Mercer’s Walter F. George School of Law in 1980. Judge Miller also earned an LL.M. degree in litigation from Emory University School of Law and an LL.M. degree in judicial process from the University of Virginia School of Law.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has approximately 7,700 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit

About Mercer University School of Law:
The Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law is ranked among the Top 100 law schools in the United States, and its legal writing program is ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 ranking of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” The law school’s public interest law program was recently ranked No. 6 in the nation by preLaw Magazine. Founded in 1873, Mercer Law School is among the oldest in the nation. Its innovative Woodruff Curriculum – which focuses on ethics and practical skills amid small class sizes – earned the Gambrell Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association for its “depth of excellence.” With a total enrollment of about 400 students, taught by some of the sharpest legal minds in the country, Mercer Law School is recognized as one of the nation’s best. For more information about Mercer Law School, visit our Web site at or call 478.301.5000.