Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) is excited to announce the conferral of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to Cheryl D. Miller. The public ceremony honoring Miller’s life and work will be live-streamed on February 16 at 6:30pm EST.
Miller is a designer, author, and theologian best known for her DEI advocacy for Black graphic designers. An award-winning designer and businesswoman, she established one of the first Black-women-owned design firms in New York in 1984, providing communications services to BET, Chase, American Express, Time, Sports Illustrated, and more, as well as social impact corporate communications defining the civil rights era. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at Lesley University’s College of Art & Design, where she teaches graphic design.
Miller holds an MS in Communications Design from Pratt Institute, a BFA from MICA, and a Master of Divinity from the Union Theological Seminary. Her groundbreaking graduate thesis at Pratt led to a trilogy of articles in Print magazine: “Black Designers: Missing in Action” (1987), “Black Designers: Still Missing in Action?” (2016), and “Black Designers: Forward In Action (Parts I-IV)” (2020). In 2013, she published a memoir, Black Coral: A Daughter’s Apology to her Asian Island Mother.
Her personal work and archives were acquired by Stanford University Libraries as the Cheryl D. Miller Collection. She is further co-curating The History of Black Graphic Design in North America, an open-source database.
Honorary doctorates are awarded to individuals who have consistently represented the bold vision and socially transformative creativity championed by VCFA and made extraordinary contributions to contemporary arts and culture. Miller’s distinguished career in service of respectful and responsible design practices is a truly profound and enduring contribution to the scholarship and culture of design. The legacy of her work has moved the needle on equitable practices for the industry and helped to craft a future where Black design history is recognized alongside existing canons.
To learn more and watch the ceremony, visit vcfa.edu.
About Vermont College of Fine Arts
Vermont College of Fine Arts is a global community of artists continuously redefining what it means to be an arts college. It is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD) and offers Master of Fine Arts degrees in Film, Graphic Design, Music Composition, Visual Art, Writing, Writing for Children & Young Adults, and Writing & Publishing.