Mills named distinguished alumnus
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Debra Amirin, UF Law Communications
Jon Mills — politician, media pundit and professor extraordinaire — was networking at a law school reception in honor of a visiting Florida Supreme Court Justice when I tapped him on the shoulder. “You’ve been busy,” I said, citing just a few of his recent activities ranging from multiple media appearances to lectures at national conferences.
He threw his hands in the air and laughed. “I’m supposed to be on sabbatical!” he said, and shook his head at the futility of staying away from the law school and legal world that has been his passion for more than 40 years. Mills (JD 72) is one of UF Law’s bestknown and most influential graduates, and he likes to be involved. He has earned widespread respect in his many diverse roles as an elected official, lawyer, professor, author, businessman and oft-quoted media expert on constitutional law issues. He received the University of Florida Distinguished Alumnus Award in recognition of all that hard work during the college’s May 2012 graduation ceremony.
“The education I received from Florida gave me the opportunity to be a lawyer, to be a teacher, to be a writer,” Mills said. “It’s impossible for me to give back enough to repay what that has meant to my life in terms of allowing me to have joy in the things that I do and to see that I’ve made an impact.” Mills served 10 years in the Florida Legislature and was Speaker of the House 1986- 1988. His major policy initiatives included water quality and environmental bills, child abuse prevention, high tech development, and constitutional privacy protections. While Speaker, he initiated and led the effort to build the Center for the Performing Arts and locate all UF arts facilities at the “Miracle on 34th Street.” He served on the historic Constitution Revision Commission and was named its most valuable member, chaired the drafting committee, and sponsored a substantial revision to the education provision of the Florida Constitution.
Mills is currently exploiting his hard-won knowledge of the Florida constitutional and political system. He serves as counsel for the Democratic Party before the state Supreme Court in a challenge to the Republican Legislature’s legislative redistricting map. Mills has been a lawyer in high profile national cases such as protection of privacy for the Earnhardt family, the Versace family, and the family of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau; he has appeared in courts nationwide and is of counsel to the prominent Miami law firm Boies Schiller & Flexner, LLP.
Read more here or in the upcoming Spring 2012 issue of UF Law Magazine.