Westside Inventor and Philanthropist Honored with Tommy Lasorda Leadership Award | News

Westside Inventor and Philanthropist Honored with Tommy Lasorda Leadership Award | News

BEVERLY HILLS –  A man who has given so much to the communities he lives and works in received a big. Dr. Gary K. Michelson, a renowned inventor and philanthropist from Brentwood, was honored with the prestigious Tommy Lasorda Leadership Award in Beverly Hills. The award was presented on the eve of the annual Milken Institute Global Conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Dr. Michelson received the sixth Lasorda Leadership Award from Milken Institute Chairman Michael Milken during the 2024 Global Gourmet Games benefit on May 4. Previous recipients of this award include prominent figures such as Dr. Richard Merkin, Joe Torre, Precious & Patrice Motsepe, Cindy Citrone, and Igor Tulchinsky.

“I was shocked and in disbelief to receive this award from Mike Milken, a visionary and compassionate leader who has convened the world’s greatest minds to shape a shared future,” said Michelson. Reflecting on their first meeting, Michelson recalled seeking Milken’s counsel after selling his patent portfolio for over $1 billion in 2005. “He taught me Milken’s laws of effective philanthropy,” Michelson added. “Every time I’ve deviated from that, I regret it, and every time I’ve followed his advice, it has turned out well. Thank you.”

Established in 2018 by businessman and philanthropist Warren Lichtenstein and the Milken Institute, the Lasorda Leadership Award is named after Dodgers’ Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda. The award honors individuals who embody Lasorda’s legacy of leadership and management, which emphasizes passion, pride, appreciation, clarity, honesty, and team motivation.

“This year, the man who richly deserves it is Gary Michelson,” Milken said while presenting the award. Highlighting Michelson’s contributions to the California Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy (CIII), Milken noted, “There’s a center here in Los Angeles that would have never existed—that will change the world and medical research—if it wasn’t for Gary’s tenacity…We secured a half-a-billion matching gift from the State of California and nothing would have happened if it was not for Gary’s persistence, insight, and vision. I thank you Gary for all the people on the planet.”

Dr. Michelson, a surgical innovator, holds nearly 1,000 patents and is recognized as one of the most prolific inventors in medical history. His revolutionary inventions in spinal surgery have benefited millions worldwide. Dr. Michelson is also one of the first physicians inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Academy of Inventors.

Since retiring from clinical practice, Dr. Michelson and his wife, Alya, have focused on philanthropic initiatives through Michelson Philanthropies. This network of private operating foundations advances education, animal welfare, public policy, intellectual property, and medical research.

The Michelsons have co-founded the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience and are currently developing the California Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy (CIII) at the UCLA Research Park. Dr. Michelson has received numerous accolades, including the Los Angeles County Medical Association’s Innovation Award for Technology and the Albert B. Sabin Humanitarian Award.

Michelson Philanthropies, created and co-chaired by Alya and Dr. Gary K. Michelson, aims to drive systemic change in medical research, animal welfare, education, and intellectual property. The organization supports vulnerable communities through catalytic grantmaking, social enterprises, impact investments, and public advocacy.

For more information about Michelson Philanthropies, visit MichelsonPhilanthropies.org.

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