Milken Naming Gift to UCLA Resisted by Prominent Professor

August 24, 2011; Source: Los Angeles Times | A planned naming gift by financier Lowell Milken for a business law institute at UCLA’s law school is being opposed by a prominent member of the faculty.

Lowell Milken and his brother Michael were linked to Wall Street’s junk bond scandal more than 20 years ago. Michael was convicted and jailed. Lowell escaped prosecution but was barred by federal regulators from working in the securities industry.

Professor Lynn A. Stout, an expert in corporate and securities law, sent a letter to UCLA officials expressing concern that the gift could harm not only UCLA’s reputation but her own as well. Stout said that naming the institute after Milken would set him up as a role model for business law students.

The University of California requires that the naming of a building or program “must be consistent with the university’s role as a public trust.” Stout said she would be less concerned with a Milken donation made to non-business-related programs at UCLA.

The dean of the law school told the Los Angeles Times that she was “mystified” by Stout’s opposition, noting that Stout was instrumental in seeking previously-donated Milken funds for a conference.

NPQ has covered this issue repeatedly. For example, the 2010 article “When a Donor Becomes Tainted” reviews some of the attendant issues.—Ruth McCambridge