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Lowell Milken Family Foundation Supports New President of ArtCenter with $2 Million Gift for Typography

Milken donation is the first significant gift of ArtCenter President Karen Hofmann’s tenure

Published on Saturday, November 26, 2022 | 5:22 am
Professor Tyrone Drake, director GX Spatial Design, teaches a Type 2 course in the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography at ArtCenter College of Design. © ArtCenter College of Design/Juan Posada

ArtCenter College of Design is pleased to announce a $2 million donation from the Lowell Milken Family Foundation (LMFF) in support of the College’s Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT). The gift marks the transition to a new era at the institution under president Karen Hofmann, who was formally inaugurated on October 26, 2022.

LMFF recently gave $1 million to the College toward a $2 million commitment to support a new wave of research, exhibitions, classes, workshops, lectures and residency programs, dedicated to all aspects of letterforms and the typographic field. Typography is viewed as a form of creative technology within increasingly digitalized global markets, including AR, VR, and IRL, all of which are projected to grow in the coming decade. Working in partnership with the educational degree programs at ArtCenter, the HMCT addresses the future intersection of language and technology. With this gift, the HMCT is expanding its robust professional advancement certificate and badging programs for educators and design professionals that enhance typographic skills, establishing an accredited online master’s degree in typography, and growing its portfolio of publications. The most recent is Mujeres Hispanas y Typografía, a bilingual catalog documenting the work of five women designers and researchers.

The new LMFF gift, which builds on the generous prior support of ArtCenter and HMCT, was established with Hofmann while she served in her previous role as ArtCenter provost. It is now coming to fruition as she becomes the College’s first woman president. The LMFF cumulative donations now total more than $6.5 million, making the LMFF the sixth-largest philanthropic donor in the College’s 92-year history.

The Lowell Milken Family Foundation has been an inspiration to me,” said Hofmann. “Their devotion to educating future generations is remarkable. As I look ahead to the kind of institution ArtCenter can be when it reaches its centennial year in 2030, I am so excited by the possibilities—especially in the arena of creative technologies.”

“Typography is an essential component of society and human language,” said HMCT Executive Director and Professor Gloria A. Kondrup. “Typography will always remain one of the most important disciplines we can teach. Effective communication across a global economy now has to speak clearly and consistently, not only on multiple platforms but in multiple languages. This opens new possibilities for typography and how it drives the human experience, associations and feelings.”

The LMFF established HMCT in 2014 in memory of the esteemed and much-loved ArtCenter Professor Leah Hoffmitz Milken, wife of philanthropist Lowell Milken. “Leah was a leading letterform designer and typographer,” says Milken. “Over the course of her life, Leah nurtured and influenced thousands of students and elevated educators in her area of expertise. I established the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography with ArtCenter as the best way to honor her extraordinary knowledge, her deep passion and dedication to her students, and her commitment to give back to a field that she thoroughly cherished—graphic design and typography.”

About the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography: The mission of the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT) is to set the standard of excellence in typography education; elevate and advance the teaching and understanding of letterform design and typographic practice; provide valuable support and service to the educational and professional communities while reinforcing the meaning and value of typography; and to honor the past and anticipates the future of typography in a society of rapidly changing visual communication methods. In addition, the HMCT continues to reinforce the meaning and value of typographic history and foundations, through its letterpress facility Archetype Press, its Archive, and other educational resources.

About the Lowell Milken Family Foundation: Founded in 1986 and located in Santa Monica, the Lowell Milken Family Foundation (LMFF) creates and supports initiatives that cultivate human capital—that is, the knowledge, skills, and experience essential to lead productive and satisfying lives. The LMFF pursues this mission through education programs that are both groundbreaking and comprehensive. By fostering and inspiring excellence, creativity, and responsibility within the formal education environment and beyond, LMFF seeks to equip people to pursue and attain lives that have value to themselves as well as to others. Among LMFF’s initiatives are the Aaron Milken Center, Milken Educator Awards, Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, The Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy, The National Institute of Excellence in Teaching, The Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience, and the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography at ArtCenter College of Design.

About ArtCenter: Founded in 1930 and located in Pasadena, California, ArtCenter College of Design is a global leader in art and design education. ArtCenter offers 11 undergraduate and 10 graduate degrees in a wide variety of art and design disciplines. In addition to its top-ranked academic programs, the College also serves the general public through a highly regarded series of online and on-campus year-round extension programs for all levels of experience. Renowned for both its ties to industry and its social impact initiatives, ArtCenter is the first design school to receive the United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status. Throughout the College’s long and storied history, ArtCenter alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and important issues in our society.

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