To return to the 100 Stars of Bakersfield College homepage, please click here.
Dr. Norman Levan is professor emeritus and former chief of dermatology at the USC School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree in 1939.
After serving in the Army Medical Corps during World War II, he began a long and distinguished career in medicine. He established the Hansen’s Disease Clinic for leprosy at the Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center in 1962 at the request of state and federal health officials, and had a medical practice in Bakersfield for many years.
But if you spend even a few minutes with Dr. Levan you quickly realize that his underlying passion is for the humanities. His master’s degree is in the humanities, and he will tell you emphatically that the most important thing a person can do in his or her life is become grounded in the humanities.
It’s what gives people their humanity. To that end he has generously provided the funding for this new building that will provide Bakersfield a place for cultural pursuits, to hear scholars share their thoughts, and for people to grow as human beings. The Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning offers classes aimed primarily at people 55 and older, although everyone is welcome to expand their knowledge and understanding.
While most community colleges are having to discontinue their course offerings geared solely for the community based upon mission clarification and budget cuts, Bakersfield College is able to continue to meet this community need, due to the generosity of Dr. Norm Levan.
But Dr. Levan did not stop there.
In March of 2011, Dr. Levan generously gave a nearly $14 million gift to the Bakersfield College Foundation.
When combined with what he had already given to BC, the two gifts increase Dr. Levan’s overall donation to nearly $20 million, $10 million higher than any gift from an individual on record. With these new funds, the Norman Levan Scholarship Endowment will alone award $500,000 annually to students – 250 each year – to cover their fees, books and part of their living expenses for the year.
Dr. Levan’s generous gift more than doubles the financial support the Bakersfield College Foundation will award to students each year.
Norm's support for the humanities at Bakersifeld College has been nurtured through his close friendship with John Collins. The Levan Center and Levan Institute, made possible by his large donation - the largest ever to a community college - is serving the purpose of introducing students, faculty and community members to the joys of the humanities.
-- Jerry Ludeke
Norm is a great friend of Bakersfield College and delights in hearing about how its contributions are being used for the Levan Center, the Levan Institute, student scholarships, and other purposes. We are very fortunate that he is in our community.
-- Robert Allison