Richard C. Levin is the longest serving Ivy League president and is recognized as one of the leaders of American higher education. Prior to assuming the presidency in 1993, he was Dean of Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. A distinguished economist, he has served as Chair of Yale’s Economics Department and has been a member of Yale’s faculty since 1974.
The internationalization of Yale has been one of President Levin’s priorities during his leadership. During his tenure, he launched the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization headed by former President of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo; created the Yale World Fellows Program that is building and training a world-wide network of emerging leaders; and introduced a new financial aid policy to provide international students with the same generous financial aid awarded to U.S. students. Yale announced in Spring 2005 that it will provide every undergraduate student the opportunity to go abroad for study, research or internships at least once during their four years of college. For students on financial aid, additional funding will be granted to make these overseas opportunities possible.
President Levin has focused on China as the University’s internationalization efforts have developed. He has traveled to China five times in the last four years. In 2001, he chose to give his Tercentennial Address on “The Global University” on the campus of Peking University, and he met with China’s President Jiang Zemin in Beijing. In subsequent conversations with senior governmental officials, Yale was chosen to sponsor an Advanced University Leadership Program for the presidents and vice presidents of China’s fourteen leading universities. That program was held during both the summers of 2004 and 2005. Similarly, Yale was chosen to sponsor an executive education program for the most senior cohort of Chinese governmental officials to study outside the country; that program was devoted to exploring how the Rule of Law could be further extended in China and occurred on Yale’s campus in June 2005.
President Levin holds an Honorary Degree from Peking University and was awarded an Honorary Professorship from Fudan (Shanghai) University in late 2005. He gave remarks at Fudan’s Centennial Celebration on that occasion.
President Levin’s other international trips have included visits to Japan, South Korea, India and Mexico as part of Yale’s expansion of research and educational ties around the world. He delivered the Sir Purshotamdas Thakurdas Memorial Lecture on “Patents in Global Perspective” in Mumbai in January 2005.
Under President Levin’s leadership, Yale completed a $1.7 billion fundraising campaign, and invested more than $2 billion in campus renovation and building programs. To ensure Yale's preeminence in research and discovery, he has committed $1 billion to renovating and expanding Yale's medical and science facilities, including the construction of five new science and engineering buildings; one of the largest new medical research facilities in the United States has recently opened.
President Levin has developed an effective partnership with the City of New Haven to expand commercial activity near the campus and increase the number of new local companies based on Yale research. During President Levin’s term more than $1.5 billion has been invested in Yale spin-off companies, and Yale has directly contributed $100 million to improvements in the City of New Have since 1993. As a part of President Levin’s commitment to community development, Yale also supports numerous programs that provide New Haven with the expertise and services of faculty and students.
President Levin serves as a trustee of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States. President Levin is also a director of American Express, and Satmetrix. He served on Presidential Commissions reviewing the U.S. Postal Service and the effectiveness of U.S. intelligence operations. As a member of the board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy at the National Academy of Science, President Levin co-chaired a committee that examined the effects of intellectual property rights policies on economic and scientific progress and made recommendations for reform of the patent system that are currently under active consideration by the U.S. Congress. In addition he was on the Blue Ribbon Panel on Baseball Economics.
A native of San Francisco, President Levin received his bachelor's degree in history from Stanford University in 1968 and studied politics and philosophy at Oxford University, where he earned a Bachelor of Letters degree. In 1974 he received his Ph.D. in economics from Yale and was named to the Yale faculty. He holds honorary degrees awarded by Peking, Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford Universities. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
President Levin maintains his involvement with students through regular meetings, meals in student dining halls, and regular attendance at sporting events. He and his wife, Jane, are longtime New Haven residents. They have four children and one grandchild.