SANTA MONICA, Calif. - Lewis C. Solmon, founding president of the Milken Institute economic think tank and an outspoken advocate of such education changes as performance pay for teachers, died Monday. He was 65.
Dr. Solmon died at his West Los Angeles home as a result of a stroke, according to the Milken Family Foundation, a research organization that is independent from the think tank.
Dr. Solmon, a professor emeritus at the University of California in Los Angeles, was dean of the university's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies from 1985 to 1991, when he became president of the Milken Institute.
In 1997, he joined the Milken Family Foundation to focus on education issues and in 2005 became president of the foundation's nonprofit National Institute for Excellence in Teaching.
The Milken Family Foundation is best known for its annual Milken National Educator Award, which provides $25,000 to teachers, principals and other educational professionals who "are furthering excellence in education."
Dr. Solmon also wrote more than two dozen books and monographs on education topics and numerous newspaper opinion pieces.
He testified before state and federal education panels and had been an adviser on education to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Dr. Solmon also helped edit the Economics of Education Review.
Born in Toronto, Dr. Solmon held an economics doctorate from the University of Chicago and taught economics at Purdue University and the City University of New York before moving to UCLA in 1974 to become executive officer of the school's Higher Education Research Institute.
Dr. Solmon leaves his wife of 42 years, Vicki; his mother, brother, two children, and six grandchildren.