Local News

Sunday, May 25 2014 05:02 PM

Philanthropist, dermatologist Dr. Norman Levan dies at 98

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Pictured at age 96 in 2012, Dr. Norman Levan retired from the practice of dermatology.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Longtime Bakersfield resident Norman Levan was excited about being honored in August 2011 at Little Italy Restaurant for his contributions to higher education. Jim Osterholt, vice preisdent of St. John's College in Sante Fe, New Mexico, was on hand to give Levan a certificate on behalf of the college. In the past five years, Levan has given $7 million to St. John's, his alma mater.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    In May 2011, former Bakersfield College president John Collins, left, shares laugh with Dr. Norman Levan before the groundbreaking ceremonies for the the new Norman Levan Center for the Humanities at Bakersfield College.

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    By Robert Allison, director of the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning

    Dr. Norman Levan is shown in his Bakersfield medical office in March 2011. The 93-year-old dermatologist donated nearly $6 million to Bakersfield College. It was the largest donation Bakersfield College has ever received.

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    By Robert Allison, director of the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning

    In this 2009 photo, Bakersfield dermatologist Dr. Norman Levan performs an office surgical procedure on his friend and long-time patient John Collins, the retired president of Bakersfield College.

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    By Bakersfield College archives

    In 2010, the Levan Center at Bakersfield College was dedicated. Dr. Norman Levan is seated in a wheelchair, Mike Stepanovich is speaking, and then college President Greg Chamberlain is at right.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Longtime Bakersfield resident and philanthropist Dr. Norman Levan died in his home Sunday at the age of 98.

After a career as a dermatologist of 73 years, 55 of which were in Bakersfield, he continued to treat patients until he was 96. He eventually retired in declining health.

Levan was especially well known for his support of educational programs in Bakersfield and other universities.

In 2011, he donated $14 million to the Bakersfield College Foundation to support scholarships and educational services. In 2006 he donated $5.7 million to BC.
The combined donations exceeded any other gift made to the college by more than $10 million, according to a news release from BC.

The Norman Levan Center for Humanities at BC and the Levan Institute of Lifelong Learning were both named in his honor.

He gave millions to the University of Southern California, a Jerusalem hospital and St. John's College in Santa Fe, N.M.

Levan was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and attended high school in Detroit. He was an english major at USC and earned his medical degree in 1939.

After serving as a medical officer in World War II, he chaired USC’s Department of Dermatology from 1961 to 1981.

Levan and his wife, Betty, moved to Bakersfield in 1980. She died at 87 in 2005.
A service will be held in Levan’s honor at 11 a.m. Wednesday outside the Norman Levan Center for Humanities at Bakersfield College.

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