Friends, family and fans of Michael Piller ’70 established the Michael Piller Distinguished Professorship in Writing for the Screen and Stage Program in honor of the life and work of the late Hollywood writer from Los Angeles, Calif., who died in 2005.

Known to millions of television viewers and moviegoers as a creative genius behind so many Star Trek adventures, Piller also discovered and mentored dozens of young writers in Hollywood, helping them build strong character-based stories, Piller was co-creator, former executive producer and creative consultant of the television shows Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Also, he was executive producer and head writer of the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. In 1998, Piller wrote and co-produced Star Trek: Insurrection, the ninth Star Trek feature film, for Paramount Pictures.

Piller served on the advisory board for UNC’s communication studies department. In 1998, he was a generous donor to the College of Arts and Sciences, helping launch an interdisciplinary screenwriting program.

The Michael Piller Visiting Distinguished Professorship in Writing for the Screen and Stage Program provides flexibility to the College to bring distinguished screen and stage writers, directors and producers to teach in the Writing for the Screen and Stage Program. Appointments will be for a short term, which may or may not be renewable after one semester.