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Doctor Leaving $12 Million to St. John’s

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The gift, combined with previous donations totaling $7 million, makes the California dermatologist the single greatest benefactor in the history of St. John’s in Santa Fe

A California dermatologist has gifted St. John’s College with its largest donation ever.

The small liberal arts school announced Thursday that Dr. Norman Levan has bequeathed it a portion of his estate worth more than $12 million.

The gift, combined with previous donations of $5 million and $2 million, makes Levan the single greatest benefactor in the history of St. John’s in Santa Fe.

“(Levan) is certainly one of the most dedicated and generous people that I have ever met and he is passionately dedicated to education and to the kind of education that St. John’s provides,” said Vice President Jim Osterholt, who has worked closely with Levan over the past several years and called him a close friend.

Around $10 million of Levan’s bequest, which will become available after his death, will fund student financial aid. Another $2 million will be used for college operations. A smaller amount, about $665,000, will pay for scholarships for students from Kern County in California, where Levan lives.

“This is going to benefit the students, and in these trying times anything we can do to assist our students is what we want to do,” Osterholt said. “This is going to provide more than half a million dollars a year directly to our students to attend St. John’s. It’s a major opportunity for them and for the people of New Mexico.”

Levan, 95, is a practicing doctor and professor emeritus and former chief of dermatology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. He served in World War II prior to entering the medical field, fighting in the Battle of Okinawa, according to information provided by St. John’s.

Levan attended the St. John’s Graduate Institute Liberal Arts program during the summers of 1971-1975, starting when he was 55 years old.

“He tried it and became enthralled … (he) felt that it changed his life and made him what he always wanted to be, which was an educated human being,” Osterholt said.

Levan donated $5 million to St. John’s in 2006 to fund the Betty and Norman Levan Hall, now the home of the college’s Graduate Institute. The building opened last fall.

Last year, Levan gave the college $2 million for the Norman Levan Faculty Chair, which is currently held by St. John’s Dean Victoria Mora.











Read more: ABQJOURNAL NORTH: Doctor Leaving $12 Million to St. John’s

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