The Milken Scholars Program Begins its Twentieth Year


In 1989, 16 students from A. Philip Randolph High School in Harlem, New York were recognized and rewarded with a scholarship that was hardly typical

In 1989, 16 students from A. Philip Randolph High School in Harlem, New York were recognized and rewarded with a scholarship that was hardly typical. Mike and Lori Milken decided that a scholarship program should do more than disburse funds. It should bring together students who have managed to perform at an academically high level despite being faced with substantial obstacles, and provide them with resources for success—both tangible and intangible—that would otherwise be out of their reach. They founded the Milken Scholars Program, an initiative of the Milken Family Foundation, to do just that.

Twenty years and 239 exceptional students later, the Milken Scholars Program continues to provide selected high school graduates with support and counseling, exposure to unique opportunities to meet and learn from leaders in the private and public sector, and perhaps even more importantly, direct contact with fellow high achievers who have gone from success in high school to success in college and beyond. To put it simply, the Milken Scholars Program helps to develop Lifelong Leaders for a Better World.

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How often does a recent high school graduate, full of ideas and ambition, have a chance to discuss their college plans with an established doctor, investment banker or lawyer as a peer? How many college freshmen have mentors who are attending the nation’s elite graduate schools? In the Milken Scholars Program, these are regular occurrences. With a Milken scholarship, a remarkable young person can gain invaluable confidence by learning from fellow Scholars every step of the way. With a Milken scholarship, a bright and fresh-faced college student, challenged by factors above and beyond the next exam, receives the encouragement necessary for them to realize their full potential.

A Milken Scholar is more than the first in his or her class. Most are the first in their families to attend college; many are children of immigrants or born in other countries themselves. Milken Scholar recipients come from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and aim to succeed in even more diverse areas of our increasingly global world. Milken Scholars have been employed as engineers for NASA, faculty at universities, and reporters for television networks. They have attended elite schools such as Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford and standard-setting specialized schools such as Caltech, Case Western, and Johns Hopkins. While they are at school and for long time after, they form an attachment to each other and to something a lot bigger; a commitment to make the world around them better.

Whether it is through participating on a panel during the annual Milken Scholars Retreat, giving a speech to their family, friends and an assemblage of prominent guests at the Recognition Dinner held in their honor, or gathering with their fellow alumni Scholars to participate in a community service event, Milken Scholars have proven themselves to be exceptional. For the past twenty years, the Milken Scholars Program has been there to help them.