History in the Making - Bakersfield College Receives Unprecedented Donation

Mar 24, 2011, 13:30 ET from Bakersfield College

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As the old saying goes – records were made to be broken. That statement has never been truer, as Bakersfield College announced a $14 million gift, the largest donation ever given to a community college in the history of the United States.

The philanthropist, Dr. Norman Levan, previously donated $5.7 million to the mid-size community college in Central California in 2006. That donation had been, at the time, the largest donation to a California community college on record. When combined, the two gifts increase Dr. Levan's overall donation to nearly $20 million, $10 million higher than any gift from an individual on record.

Dr. Levan's 2011 gift is at least $3.7 million greater than the largest donation in history in the United States, which was $10 million given to Santa Monica City College in 2008 from Eli and Edyth Broad. The next two largest gifts was Dr. Levan's to Bakersfield College in 2006 and $5 million from Henry Coil, Jr. to Riverside Community College in 2010.

"On behalf of current and future students and staff of Bakersfield College, I thank Dr. Levan for his incredible investment in our College," said Dr. Greg A. Chamberlain, president of Bakersfield College. "This is history in the making and a reason to celebrate across our entire community. Dr. Levan's gift to Bakersfield College will benefit the community for years to come."

Most interestingly, Dr. Levan is not an alumnus of Bakersfield College. His relationship with the College stems from a long-time friendship with former Bakersfield College president Dr. John Collins.

Overall, the endowments created include:

  • $10 million (at current market value) to establish the Norman Levan Scholarship Endowment.
  • $2 million to continue the work of the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities.
  • $1 million to continue the educational services provided by the Levan Institute.
  • $665,000 in scholarships specifically for students with interest in studying Hispanic and Native American cultures.

The Norman Levan Scholarship Endowment, which would be $10 million at current market value, will award $500,000 annually to students – 250 each year – to cover their fees, books and part of their living expenses for the year. Prior to the announcement of today's gift, Bakersfield College Foundation awarded nearly $400,000 total in scholarships to students each year.

Media Contact: Amber Chiang, 661-395-4256, 661-794-9684

SOURCE Bakersfield College