The Levy Gift of a PIK Professorship: Weaving a Philanthropic Thread
August 25, 2010
For Robert Levy, WG’74, and his wife, Diane, giving is a given, finding long-term solutions to societal problems is the goal, and education is the means to achieving that goal. The thread that ties it all together is philanthropy to the University of Pennsylvania.
Over the years the thread has become longer and stronger. With their latest gift, $5 million to endow a Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) University Professorship, the Levys have confirmed their belief that the Penn approach to education – combining opportunity, engagement, and integrated knowledge – offers the most promise for addressing world problems.
The Levys’ 1999 gift to Huntsman Hall was followed in 2002 by the Diane v.S. and Robert M. Levy Fellowship, designated for MBA students with less than three years’ work experience or women or underrepresented minorities – in other words, for people who might not otherwise have had that opportunity. Four years ago the couple created the Levy Social Impact Fund at Wharton to encourage students to look at a different kind of success, one that involves using their knowledge to solve global problems, and to prepare for leadership in ethics, corporate social responsibility, and social entrepreneurship.
Now, as Bob notes, they are coming at the educational path to societal improvement from another direction – “from the top down” – by investing in faculty. “Amy Gutmann has made a compelling case,” he says, “that the best people to guide our students in changing the world are those who have interdisciplinary expertise.” The Levy PIK Professor will hold appointments in the Wharton School and another school, to be determined according to the background of the professor.
And why give now? According to Bob, who is co-chair of the Making History Campaign, “this is a time for us to increase our involvement.” It’s hard to imagine how they could do more – Bob is also a Trustee and Vice-Chair of the Wharton Board of Overseers, and Diane is an Overseer of the Penn Museum. The thread has become a web of philanthropy by these University Citizens!
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