Honoring a beloved professor with a passion for type

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Leah Hoffmitz Milken had taught typography and graphic design at Art Center College and Design for over 20 years when she passed away at the age of 61 after a long illness.

The late professor Leah Hoffmitz with one of her students at Art Center

The community surrounding the Art Center of College and Design in Pasadena has been in mourning since October 25th, when news came of the death of a beloved long-time faculty member with a  passionate and lifelong commitment to the art of type.

Leah Hoffmitz Milken had taught typography and graphic design at the school for over 20 years when she passed away at the age of 61 after a long illness.

Professor Milken grew up in Toronto, where her love of typography was apparently encouraged thanks to her father’s profession as a typesetter. After earning an undergraduate degree at the Ontario College of Art and Design, she earned her graduate degree at the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule School of Design in Basel, Switzerland. Art Center awarded her status as an honorary alumnus in 2008.

Last week, the Center announced a $2 million gift in her honor from a family foundation run by Milken’s husband of several years, Lowell, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist brother of notorious 80s “junk bond king” Michael.  Among many other donations Lowell Milken has made includes establishing an institute for the study of Business Law and Policy at UCLA that bears his name. Criticism of UCLA for accepting that gift didn’t deter Art Center from accepting this one, said a spokeswoman, who added “We are deeply grateful to Lowell Milken for his leadership and to the Foundation for this generous gift. We’re especially thrilled to honor Leah’s 20 year teaching legacy at Art Center.”

This bequest will fund what the school plans to call the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography, which the school said was already in the planning stages before Professor Milken passed away.

The new center for typography will reportedly open sometime in the 2015 academic year.  A remembrance of Professor Milken will be held by the school in January.