Lowell Milken, Chairman and Co-Founder
By developing groundbreaking national initiatives such as the Milken Educator Awards—the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program—Lowell Milken’s work has strengthened opportunities and outcomes for hundreds of thousands of students and educators across the country.
“Education is at the heart of nearly everything we value as individuals, as citizens and as productive human beings.” — Lowell Milken
The Milken Educator Awards has thrived as one of several innovative K-12 education and medical research programs created under Lowell Milken's guidance as chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. Established in 1982, the Milken Family Foundation has been leading advances in education, medical research and public health for over three decades, as well as helping to fund over 1,000 organizations worldwide with parallel missions.
Lowell created the Milken Educator Awards in order to recognize the importance of outstanding educators and to encourage talented young people to choose teaching as a career. Coined "the Oscars of teaching" by Teacher Magazine, the Milken Educator Awards recognizes exceptional teachers in surprise ceremonies surrounded by their students and faculty, where each educator is given an unrestricted $25,000 reward. First presented to 12 outstanding recipients in California in 1987, the Milken Educator Awards’ national network today is more than 2,600 strong and dedicated to strengthening the nation’s schools.
Lowell’s lifelong commitment to strengthening K–12 education has led to some of the country's most innovative means to dramatically advance educator effectiveness. As founder of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, he guides a team of educators, research and policy experts who forge partnerships that create leadership and professional development opportunities for educators to thrive. Those working with NIET range from schools, districts and states to universities and other nonprofit organizations. NIET’s services are rooted in two signature initiatives: TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement and the Educator Effectiveness Best Practices Center.
Another transformative educational organization – the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes – discovers, develops and communicates the stories of Unsung Heroes who have made a profound and positive difference on the course of history. Through student-driven project-based learning, students and entire communities learn that each of us has the responsibility and the power to take actions that "repair the world" by improving the lives of others. Founded in 2007 in partnership with Milken Educator Norman Conard (KS '92), the Lowell Milken Center has reached over 1,100,000 students and 8,000 schools in all 50 states, with growing global reach.
With the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law, Lowell's work in education extends greater opportunities to UCLA law students, faculty, young law practitioners and alumni. Building on UCLA School of Law's already outstanding programs, the Lowell Milken Institute provides expanded studies in business law and policy, clinical experience and additional research opportunities for faculty, along with faculty fellowships, student scholarships, awards and business law conferences. The knowledge, skills and experience developed through the Lowell Milken Institute will help ensure that students are prepared to assume leadership roles not only in the practice of law, but also in business, government and philanthropy.
The recently established Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena honors the legacy of Leah Hoffmitz Milken, a letterform expert known for unique logotypes and typefaces and a legendary professor for two decades. The Center is dedicated to setting the global standard of excellence in typography and design education at a time of rapidly changing visual communication methods and devices.
As an international business leader, Lowell has founded some of the world’s largest education companies. He is chairman of London-based Heron International, a global leader in property development.
Lowell Milken graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley, where he received the School of Business Administration’s Most Outstanding Student award. At UCLA School of Law, he earned his degree with the distinctions of election to Order of the Coif and UCLA Law Review. In 2009, Lowell was named UCLA Law Alumnus of the Year for Public Service. Both Chapman University and Hebrew Union College have presented Lowell with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.