When San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor sought a leader for the city’s newly established Arts and Culture Commission, she turned to Milton “Mickey” Fredman, a prominent San Diego attorney and 1950 graduate of Balboa Law School.
A San Diego attorney for more than 35 years, Fredman played a significant role in the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal, serving as deputy commissioner of the U.S. delegation. As such, he oversaw construction of the famed geodesic dome by Buckminster Fuller and escorted former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy around the Expo 67 grounds.
O’Connor invited Fredman to help lead a San Diego delegation to Moscow in 1988 to pave the way for the highly-successful “Treasures of the Soviet Union” arts festival in 1989, including the largest display of Fabergé eggs since the Russian Revolution and performances by Russian arts groups. The event galvanized the San Diego arts community and raised the region’s profile as an arts-focused city.
Fredman led the Arts and Culture Commission for several years and oversaw the first acquisition of public art by the City of San Diego, “Night Vision,” by Roberto Salas, which stands to this day along Park Avenue in Balboa Park.
He stepped in to help the city again in the late 1990s, following the decommissioning of the Naval Training Center, chairing a review committee to assess bids for the redevelopment project that became Liberty Station. Having served as a member of the Board of Port Commissioners from 1969 to 1972, Fredman was familiar with the valuable waterfront property and its important history in San Diego.
Fredman contributed much to making San Diego the “first-class city” he envisioned before his passing in 2005. Like many early graduates, Fredman used his knowledge of the law and his passion for giving back to make meaningful changes in the world around him.