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Lowell Milken Center -

About the Center

About the Lowell Milken Center

The Lowell Milken Center is the result of a collaboration between two men whose commitment to excellence in education has impacted the lives of thousands of people.

Norman Conard and Lowell Milken

Businessman and philanthropist Lowell Milken has been a pioneer in education reform over the past two-and-a-half decades, having established groundbreaking initiatives such as the Milken National Educator Awards, which recognize and reward outstanding educators across the nation with public recognition and a substantial financial award, and the TAP™: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement, a comprehensive strategy to attract, develop, motivate and retain talented people in the teaching profession.

In a teaching career that spans more than three decades, award-winning educator Norman Conard, of Uniontown High School in Uniontown, Kansas, (retired from the classroom in 2007) engaged hundreds of students in outstanding history projects incorporating performing arts, multimedia, and film and video production. Many of these projects have won top honors at the National History Day competition and have received national and international media coverage.

Lowell Milken Center Exhibit Area

The two met in 1992, when Lowell presented Norm with a $25,000 Milken Educator Award. Since then, they have continued to exchange ideas on how to foster excellence in teaching.

In 1999, led by Megan Felt, students from Uniontown created a history project that told the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker who rescued 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. The students wrote a play about Sendler called Life in a Jar, which has since been performed hundreds of times throughout the U.S. and in Europe. Upon discovering that Sendler was still alive and living in Poland, the Uniontown students contacted and visited her. Since then, they have established a very close bond with Sendler, and have worked tirelessly to spread her story around the world. It was their efforts that helped lead to her nomination in 2007 for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Lowell Milken Center
in Fort Scott, Kansas

As Lowell offered his support for the Life in a Jar project, sponsoring performances of the play in Los Angeles and creating an educational DVD based on the project, he and Norm began discussing how they could further promote such educational projects that bring to light unsung heroes such as Irena Sendler—heroic role models whose actions teach respect and understanding among all people and embody the Hebrew phrase, tikkun olam ("repair the world").

They discussed the concept of taking these projects to a broader audience, national in scope. As a result of these discussions, Norm and his high school students collaborated on a proposal for an international nonprofit organization that would change the world by developing projects that teach respect and understanding.

Many different names for this new organization were considered, but eventually settling on the Lowell Milken Center in honor of the man and his foundation who supported their vision with his expertise, advice and funding.

2010 LMC Fellow Shannon Garrison
in the exhibit area

In April 2007, the establishment of the Lowell Milken Center was formally announced at the Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference in Los Angeles.

It was decided that the ideal location for the Lowell Milken Center would be the heart of Kansas, where the award winning history projects originated. In August 2007, the Lowell Milken Center opened its offices in Fort Scott, 17 miles east of Uniontown, underscoring the idea that no matter where you are, young people and their teachers have the power to promote respect and understanding and to "repair the world."

As of September 2013, the LMC has reached over 6,350 schools and more than 805,000 students.

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