George Washington University will name its public health school for Michael Milken, the 1980s king of Wall Street "junk'' bonds who spent 22 months in prison but later devoted himself to philanthropy and advocated for medical research.
On Tuesday, the university announced gifts totaling $80 million to address public health challenges from Milken and Sumner Redstone.
The gifts include $40 million from the Milken Institute to support research and scholarships and $30 million from the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation to expand wellness and disease prevention. A $10 million gift from the Milken Family Foundation will support a new scholarship program.
The gifts connected to Redstone, board chairman of Viacom and CBS, and Milken, an active philanthropist, are record amounts for the university. They will create the Milken Institute School of Public Health and the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness.
Milken, 67, is a prostate cancer survivor who became an active philanthropist and advocate for medical research after his career as a cutting-edge financier ended with a prison term. He was known as the king of high-risk, high-interest "junk'' bond in the 1980s and came to symbolize the excesses and greed of Wall Street run amok. Milken pioneered the use of the bonds to finance corporate takeover battles and became a dominant force in the 1980s takeover boom.
After his release from prison, Milken was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He embarked on a philanthropic career and a bid to restore his reputation. Milken and his family have given hundreds of millions of dollars away in recent decades. Much of it is channeled through the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Milken Family Foundation, founded in 1982, which funds education and medical research, especially in the cancer field.