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Michael and Lori Milken establish endowed public health professorships

Ann Duan | Photographer
Students pass through the Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Updated: Jan. 17, 2024, at 1:36 p.m.

The namesakes of the Milken Institute School of Public Health established two $6 million endowed professorships last week.

The Lynn R. Goldman Professorship — named after public health school Dean Lynn Goldman — and the Michael and Lori Milken Professorship will financially support two faculty members in the public health school, according to a release. The release states that the professorships “tapped” a matching investment from GW, which will bolster the University’s academic medical enterprise.

Philanthropist Michael Milken, who had no alumni connection to GW but wanted to fund a major public health center at GW due to its proximity to lawmakers, said he and Lori named a professorship after Goldman due to her ability to create personal relationships with students and families.

“Despite her important responsibilities — teaching, recruiting, fundraising, writing peer-reviewed articles, speaking on Capitol Hill, chairing the Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health — she’s never too busy to counsel a student or meet with parents of a prospective student,” Milken said in the release.

He added that Goldman led the public health school to their selection as the best online public health graduate program in the United States by Fortune Magazine, which ranked the school’s masters public health program No. 1 in 2022 based on its demand and selectivity.

Goldman has led the school for more than two decades and in 2022, she attributed the school’s success to her focus on recruiting “world-class faculty” and independence from the University’s former Medical Center – which housed the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the School of Nursing and the public health school. In her first four years as dean, she hired more than 40 new faculty members.

Michael Milken said the new endowed professorships will draw in new talent to the GW community.

“In business, the quality of management far exceeds the value of factories and equipment,” Michael Milken said in a release. “In public health education, the quality of the faculty is the most important asset and endowed professorships are key to recruiting and retaining the finest talent.”

The endowment marks the latest of Milken’s many financial contributions to the University, donating a record $80 million under the philanthropist’s Milken Institute and The Milken Family Foundation with Sumner Redstone in 2014 to fund research and scholarships. Officials renamed the public health school after the Milken Institute’s donation. Michael Milken also received an honorary Doctor of Science degree at the Class of 2023’s Commencement and spoke at the ceremony.

Michael Milken dedicated himself to public health research after pleading guilty to six felony charges including security fraud, mail fraud and aiding in the filing of a false tax return in 1990, and served 22 months in prison. Then-President Donald Trump pardoned Milken’s charges in 2020.

Officials said they will direct $50 million from the sale of GW Hospital to fund 14 endowed professorships in September 2022. LaQuandra Nesbitt, the executive director for the Center for Population Health Sciences and Health Equity and the senior associate dean for population health and health equity, holds the bicentennial-endowed professorship in SMHS – the first of the 14 endowed professorships.

University President Ellen Granberg said in a release that the Milkens have made a “transformational” change on public health and have supported the public health school to become leaders in the field.

“I am grateful for their continued support and particularly pleased that they are choosing to invest in our faculty who are creating a healthier, more equitable world,” Granberg said.

This post was updated to correct the following:

The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Michael Milken was convicted for insider trading, securities fraud and mail fraud. He pleaded guilty to securities and mail fraud and aiding in the filing of a false tax return. We regret this error.

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About the Contributor
Ianne Salvosa, Managing Editor
Ianne Salvosa, a junior majoring in journalism and international affairs from Lake Saint Louis, Missouri, is the 2024-25 managing editor for The Hatchet. She was previously a news editor and assistant news editor for the administration and finance beat and a contributing news editor for the academics and administration beats.
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