Levan donation yet to be released

Breanna Fields, Reporter

A year ago, Norman Levan donated nearly $14 million to Bakersfield College to provide funding for previously existing programs and scholarships.

Students have been wondering how this donation will be used on campus.

There is a common misconception that has led students to believe that these funds can be used for any purpose.

This is not true in most cases, which includes Levan’s most recent contribution.

Mike Stepanovich, the executive director of the BC Foundation, said that Levan stipulated that these funds are to provide scholarships for those who major in humanities as well as Hispanic and Native American studies.

“He believes very strongly that those are the foremost areas in terms of human development,” said Stepanovich.

BC will not have access to these funds until Levan has passed.

Holding these funds is a common practice when dealing with donations of this amount.

Levan selected BC as the recipient of the donation, along with St. John’s College in New Mexico and University of Southern California.

Although he was not a student at BC, Levan took a strong interest in the vision of BC’s program and its effort to provide higher education for students of all ages.

Levan’s belief in serving the community and providing students with the opportunity to explore humanities led him to make his initial donation of $5.7 million in 2006.

These funds went toward the creation of the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning, and the construction of the Levan Center for Humanities.

The Levan Center is currently an active facility on campus that hosts regular lectures that are open for the public to attend.

Stepanovich feels that these humanitarian lectures are pertinent to those who aspire to be better human beings.

“The lectures are designed to make people pause, reflect and think,” said Stepanovich.

The Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning is a program designed specifically for the interests of those ages 55 or older who would like to continue their education and seek to enroll in courses that will benefit the quality of their life.

The courses offered include a variety of creative instruction such as photography and art. As well as intellectual subjects like philosophy and sociology.

Although the target audience is primarily seniors, these classes are open to all adults.

“Levan is a deep believer that learning is a lifelong endeavor and he wants to make those opportunities available to the citizens of Bakersfield,” said Stepanovich.

Originally from Ohio, Levan moved to California after high school where he attended University of Souther California and went to medical school.

After graduation he served in World War II as a doctor for the army.

He then entered into the field of medicine and tended to a number of clients from Bakersfield.

One of his patients was John Collins, the former president of BC who recently passed away.

Collins introduced Levan to BC where he had the opportunity to visit the campus and experience the daily routine of community college students in Bakersfield.

This was what influenced his decision to make the donation.

“He could see for himself the good work that was going on here at BC,” said Stepanovich.