Lowell Milken: Biography

Lowell Milken speaking at a podium

“At a time when our state’s great universities are under significant financial pressure and constraints, it is incumbent upon those of us who benefited greatly from our educational experiences within the UC system to help support the outstanding work of these universities.” –Lowell Milken

An innovative business leader and pioneering philanthropist in education reform, Lowell Milken serves as chairman of two global corporations, chairman of the renowned Milken Family Foundation, and founder of several nonprofit initiatives impacting education reform across the country.

Of his 2011 gift to the school, Lowell has said: “my UCLA Law educational experience has proven its worth in diverse situations and decisions. . . I wished to give something to the School of Law in return.”

Named by Worth magazine as one of America’s most generous philanthropists, Lowell is also an international businessman who chairs National Realty Trust, the largest property owner of early childhood centers in the U.S., as well as London-based Heron International, a worldwide leader in property development. His experience in business at the global level informs his strategic vision for the high-caliber educational opportunities vital to equip future generations to compete on the world stage and to secure America’s heritage as a democracy.

As chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation, Lowell Milken’s dedication to education reform has been informed by more than three decades of education research, policy and practice, as well as firsthand visits to thousands of classrooms. In 1985, Lowell developed the Milken Educator Awards, which today is the nation’s most prominent teacher-recognition program.

In 1999, Lowell Milken founded TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement, a proven, comprehensive school reform to attract, develop, motivate and retain the best talent for the American teaching profession. As a result of TAP’s rapid growth, powerful outcomes and increasing demand, in 2005 Lowell Milken established the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) as an independent public charity to support and manage the TAP system nationwide. NIET also operates the the Educator Effectiveness Best Practices, provides innovative services, support and solutions to schools, districts and states to improve educator effectiveness, based on more than a decade of experience in schools across the country. With a dedicated staff drawn from the fields of education and business, NIET creates partnerships with schools, districts, states and community organizations to ensure TAP’s effectiveness and sustainability.  In a diverse set of urban, rural and suburban schools across America, NIET is impacting the teaching and learning of more than 200,000 teachers and 2.5 million students nationwide.

Lowell Milken is a graduate of the California public school system, graduating 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 distinction of Order of the Coif and UCLA Law Review. In 2009 he was UCLA School of Law’s Alumnus of the Year and in 2017 the Education Commission of the States named Lowell the recipient of the James Bryant Conant Award based on his lifetime of contributions to improving education.