Leah Hoffmitz Milken pictured left and also pictured right working with one of her Art Center students.
In 2015 ArtCenter College of Design established the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography in honor of legendary Professor Leah Toby Hoffmitz Milken. In partnership with the Lowell Milken Family Foundation, the new Center advances the research, teaching and understanding of letterform design. Recognizing typography as a vital component of our visual culture, the Center sets the global standard of excellence as the definitive influential force in the field of visual communication.
The Center supports strategic alliances with educational and professional organizations as well as a physical space on the college's South Campus where public and professional educational programs, such as lectures and art exhibits, are held to highlight the past, present and future of typography. Interdisciplinary programming at the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography consist of classes, exhibitions, visiting lectures and symposia. It also significantly enhances and complements existing campus resources serving students and the international professional community, including the College’s Archetype Press letterpress printing facility and transdisciplinary study abroad partnerships.
“During the past decade, advances in technology and media have ushered in a new era of visual learning,” said Lorne M. Buchman, president of Art Center College of Design. “We continually consume information visually, and letterforms are a central and critical element of that visual world. It is imperative that we understand typography and its meaning as we navigate the global information age.”
Renowned letterform expert Hoffmitz Milken taught at the College for more than 20 years and was a much-loved member of the community. Joining the faculty in 1992, Leah Hoffmitz Milken influenced generations of graduates, many of whom have become internationally recognized experts in graphic design and typography. Throughout her career, she specialized in the creation of unique logotypes and typefaces for multiple industries and media. Corporate brands benefiting from her expert typographic eye include FedEx, Nokia, United Airlines and Disney, among many others.
“It is deeply meaningful to build on the legacy of Leah Hoffmitz Milken through the new Center and its programming—the focus of which is unique in higher education,” said Buchman. “We are most grateful to the Lowell Milken Family Foundation for providing this tremendous opportunity.”
“Establishing the Center is the best way to honor Leah’s memory as well as her extraordinary knowledge about typography, her deep passion and dedication to her students and her commitment to give back to a field which she thoroughly cherished,” said philanthropist Lowell Milken, Leah’s husband and chairman of the Lowell Milken Family Foundation. “She was so pleased to know this was underway when discussions began about the gift some time ago.”
In 2008, her profound dedication to teaching and desire to give back to her students was recognized by Art Center when the leadership presented her with an Honorary Alumna designation. Since receiving this award, she has actively participated in the College’s Legacy Circle, an alumni-led volunteer group raising support for student scholarships.
In 2013, Hoffmitz Milken received the Distinguished Achievement Award in Recognition of Excellence in Teaching, Professional Accomplishment and Institutional Service. The tribute hailed her extraordinary devotion to students, whom she challenged and shaped while always aware of the learning process and the sensitive balance required when teacher and student engage in important moments of discovery.
Since 2007, the Lowell Milken Family Foundation has supported students enrolled in the College’s undergraduate, graduate and public programs.