Educational Innovator Chen to Speak at NMU Commencement

Milton Chen

Educational innovator and author Milton Chen will deliver the keynote address and receive an honorary Doctor of Education degree at Northern Michigan University's May 4 commencement. He is senior fellow and executive director emeritus at the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF)—on his 50th birthday, Lucas named him a Jedi Master—and once served as director of research at Sesame Workshop in New York. His honors include the Fred Rogers Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Robin W. Winks Award for Enhancing Understanding of National Parks and touting their value as outdoor classrooms.

As executive director of GLEF from 1998-2010, Chen led the development and expansion of the nonprofit's website on innovative K-12 learning. At Sesame Workshop, he helped to develop Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and 3-2-1 Contact. He has also been the founding director of the KQED Center for Education (PBS) in San Francisco; an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and a 2007-08 Fulbright New Century Scholar in residence at the University of Edinburgh.

The lifelong champion for quality and culturally competent PreK-12 education wrote Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools, which was ranked among 2010's best education books by the American School Board Journal. Chen has delivered more than 100 keynote presentations based on the book in more than 40 states and 12 countries.

Chen is a member of the board of trustees of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, one of the largest U.S. foundations focused on vulnerable children, families and communities. He has also served on the boards of Sesame Workshop and the Panasonic

Foundation, and chaired the education committee for the National Park System Advisory

Board, advancing the agency's work in STEM and humanities education. He was named an Honorary Ranger by the National Park Service.

Chen holds a bachelor's degree in social studies from Harvard College and a doctorate in communication from Stanford. His commencement address can be viewed live online at or regionally on Northern's PBS station, WNMU-TV. The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Superior Dome.

Prepared By

Kristi Evans
News Director

Categories: Around NMU