Milstein donates $2.26 million to Miller Center for symposium

Businessman, real estate developer and philanthropist Howard Milstein has donated $2.26 million to the Miller Center to sponsor a five-year public policy symposium, the University announced Tuesday.

The Milstein Symposium will bring scholars to Charlottesville to discuss policy recommendations and political history. Jeffrey Chidester, the center’s director of public programs, said in an email the center hopes to use the initiative to generate innovative policy ideas to resolve “political, economic, and cultural challenges.”

“It’s the Center’s mission to provide historical insights and, in some cases, offer practical, nonpartisan solutions to today’s policy and governance challenges,” Chidester said. “The country is in need of fresh ideas to meet these challenges, built upon the lessons of history and forged through bipartisan action.”

Miller Center Director Gerald Baliles said in a press release that the center hoped the program would help combat the current political climate in Washington. “The Miller Center has a proven track record of bringing together people with diverse points of view to develop innovative solutions to the complex challenges facing our nation,” Baliles said. “Thanks to Howard Milstein’s generosity, we can do more of this important work. And with partisanship in Washington at an all-time high, it could not come at a better time.”

The center will hold three Milstein Symposium programs a year. Based on the deliberations of groups of scholars brought together by the symposia, the center will produce policy recommendations and release these reports to a national audience through various media, including the center’s show on PBS.

The center has not yet determined how it will involve students in the symposia, Chidester said, but the center has drawn from student support in previous projects.

“U.Va. students have made significant contributions to Miller Center programs and research for decades now, and we anticipate similar involvement in the Milstein Symposium,” Chidester said.

The multi-million dollar grant will be split evenly over the program’s five-year run.

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