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Bakersfield College receives record $13.7-million gift

Bakersfield College announced Thursday what officials described as the single largest donation from an individual to any community college nationwide, a $13.7-million gift to the college from a Bakersfield dermatologist.

The donor, Dr. Norman Levan, is 95 and still sees patients once a week. Most of his gift will be used for a scholarship endowment that is expected to pay for fees, books and a portion of living expenses for about 250 Bakersfield College students each year.

A graduate of USC’s Medical School and former chief of dermatology there, Levan did not attend Bakersfield College. His ties to that community college began with his friendship with a former school president, John Collins, who was his patient as well, officials said.

The previous record for a private, non-corporate donation to a single community college was reported to be the $10 million Eli and Edyth Broad gave in 2008 to support arts programming at Santa Monica Community College. That same year, the Bernard Osher Foundation gave $50 million for financial aid for books, supplies, tools and uniforms across the California community college system, the largest donation to such a system.

Levan, a widower who has no children, is known in higher education circles for his philanthropy.  In 2006, he gave $5.7 million to Bakersfield College. He is also a major donor to USC and to St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M., which he also attended.

-- Larry Gordon

Comments () | Archives (1)

This is the best thing that has happened for continuing education all year and will be hard to match for any other philanthropists that wish to meet the challenge. Bravo!


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