Michael Milken, major donor to public health school, receives pardon from Trump

Media Credit: File Photo by Alexander Welling | Assistant Photo Editor

Milken, who spoke at the business school's commencement ceremony last year, received the nickname "junk bond king" after he committed several financial crimes in the 1980s.

The philanthropist whose name adorns the public health school received a pardon Tuesday for several financial crimes he committed in the 1980s.

Michael Milken, who contributed about $50 million to the Milken Institute School of Public Health in 2014, pled guilty to six felony counts of crimes including insider trading, securities fraud and mail fraud 30 years ago. President Donald Trump pardoned Milken along with 10 other individuals for a range of crimes, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The White House released a statement with Trump’s grants of clemency that states that Milken “democratized corporate finance by providing women and minorities access to capital that would have been unavailable to them otherwise.”

“His innovative work greatly expanded access to capital for emerging companies,” the statement reads. “By enabling smaller players to access the financing they needed to compete, Mr. Milken’s efforts helped create entire industries, such as wireless communications and cable television, and transformed others, like home building.”

Milken served two years in prison for the charges in the 1990s, the Associated Press reported. Former President Barack Obama previously denied a pardon to Milken, according to The Post.

Milken and his wife, Lori Milken, attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the public health school building in 2014. At the time, public health school Dean Lynn Goldman said the pair’s donation boosted GW’s reputation as a top research institution.

Milken addressed the public health school at its commencement ceremony in 2014 and the business school at its ceremony in 2019.

“Over the years, Mr. Milken – either personally or through foundations he created – has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in critical funding to medical research, education, and disadvantaged children,” the White House release states. “Mr. Milken’s philanthropy has been particularly influential in the fight against prostate cancer and has been credited with saving many lives.”

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