Lowell Milken Honored with 2017 ECS James Bryant Conant Award

July 01, 2017

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At the National Forum on Education Policy at the Hotel Del Coronado on June 29th, 2017, the Education Commission of the States (ECS) honored Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-founder Lowell Milken as the 2017 recipient of the James Bryant Conant Award, one of education's most prestigious honors. The Conant Award, named after the co-founder of Education Commission of the States (ECS) and former president of Harvard University, recognizes outstanding individual contributions to American education. Montana Governor and ECS Chairman Steve Bullock presented Lowell Milken with the award during the 2017 National Forum on Education Policy, taking place in San Diego.

"It is an honor to have the work I’ve been engaged in over the past 30 years be recognized and associated with the contributions of the ECS founder, for while James Bryant Conant was a visionary educator, he was a committed reformer as well," said Milken.

"Lowell Milken's efforts in education span across many areas of education practice, including policy, research, curriculum, professional development and student success," said Jeremy Anderson, president of Education Commission of the States. "Milken's inclusive approach to providing opportunities for educators, students and communities to increase innovation in and awareness of the importance of a well-rounded and comprehensive education experience demonstrates his commitment to supporting education from beginning to end."

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Lowell's reputation as a visionary leader of education reform has been honed by more than three decades of education research, policy and practices, complemented by firsthand visits to thousands of classrooms and the creation of major national initiatives, all of which are focused around the importance of educators.

"Human capital is the beating heart of education," said Milken. "And developing strong human capital is not only the goal of education, it is the means of achieving that goal. For without vibrant, engaged, excellent educators, there is little chance of producing students with the same qualities."

  • Lowell developed the Milken Educator Awards, the preeminent teacher award in the U.S., to recognize the importance of outstanding educators and to encourage talented young people to choose teaching as a profession. More than 2,700 outstanding teachers and principals have received the Award in its 30-year history.
  • With the Milken Educator Awards dedicated to recognizing excellence among the few, Lowell determined to also generate excellence among the many, as embodied by TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement, a research-based and proven whole school reform model.
  • Demand for TAP's proven reforms compelled Lowell to establish the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) in 2005, committed to ensuring a highly skilled, strongly motivated and competitively compensated teacher for every classroom in America. NIET, including TAP, impacts more than 250,000 educators and 2.5 million students around the country every day.
  • The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, another transformative educational organization, encourages student-driven project-based learning to discover, develop and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes who have made a profound and positive difference on the course of history. LMC has a global footprint, impacting more than 1.3 million students across all 50 U.S. states and around the world.
  • In 2011, the UCLA School of Law established the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy (LMI) to prepare students for outstanding careers and leadership in law as well as business, government and philanthropy.
  • At Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT)honors the legacy of Leah Hoffmitz Milken, a letterform expert and professor known for unique logotypes and typefaces, and is dedicated to setting the global standard of excellence in typography and visual communication.

As former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Ray Simon said, "When the history of education for the latter twentieth and early twenty-first centuries is written, it will undoubtedly look upon the efforts of Lowell Milken, especially in his ground-breaking successes with TAP, as seminal in addressing the core issues of high quality teaching and learning."

In receiving the James Bryant Conant Award, Lowell Milken joins the ranks of education greats such as Thurgood Marshall (2004), Linda Darling-Hammond (2010), Lamar Alexander (1988) and Terrel Bell (1985). Education Commission of the States awarded Lowell Milken with the 2017 James Bryant Conant Award for his continuous philanthropic work and personal dedication to creating opportunities to support success and innovation across the many areas of education practice.