The University of Puget Sound recently honored Tacoma Housing Authority executive director Michael Mirra with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his vision and leadership in creating innovative partnerships to improve housing for Tacoma’s low-income community.

Tacoma Housing Authority Executive Director Michael Mirra and University of Puget Sound President Isiaah Crawford. Photo courtesy of University of Puget Sound.

Mirra received the honorary doctorate at the University of Puget Sound’s 127th Commencement Ceremony on May 19.

Highlights of Mirra’s tenure at THA include leading multi-million-dollar transformations of the Salishan and Bay Terrace communities. Recently, he has overseen the development of housing options for unsheltered students enrolled at University of Washington Tacoma and Tacoma Community College.

“Mr. Mirra is a lifelong advocate for equal justice before the law, for fair housing, and for the betterment of the human condition,” Puget Sound President Isiaah Crawford said in a statement. “He is a visionary and dynamic leader, and it is our great privilege to honor him in this way.”

Prior to becoming executive director of THA, Mirra spent more than 20 years as an attorney advocating for child welfare, fair housing, and just landlord-tenant laws. During the 1990s, he litigated on behalf of homeless families and poor neighborhoods in several high-profile cases, including Washington State Coalition for the Homeless v. the Department of Social and Health Services, decided by the state Supreme Court.