Mel Levine ’64 came of age during the optimistic Kennedy era, on a vibrant campus that “inspired me to feel that you could have an impact on changing the world.” The former Cal student body president kept that in mind throughout his life. Graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in political science, and later completing degrees in public administration and law, Mel served in the California Assembly, the U.S. Congress, and as a presidential adviser on Middle Eastern policy.
His Berkeley values not only color his professional life as an attorney, serving as a partner and public policy specialist in the Century City and Washington, D.C. offices of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. They also underlie his commitment to “America’s competitiveness in the world market by improving education.” That is why he and his wife, journalist Connie Bruck, have chosen to give a significant gift to support graduate fellowships at the Goldman School of Public Policy.
“Public education is indispensable for democracy,” says Mel, who has been a long-standing member of the School's Board of Advisors. “I believe that informed and educated policy-makers are ultimately the people who are going to make decisions about our democracy. Therefore, my wife and I have chosen to direct a substantial portion of our charitable dollars to the Goldman School.”
Investments in institutions of higher education have “historically been the underpinning of America’s ability to compete, and if shortchange them, we do so at our peril,” he says. “When I went to Cal, there was no tuition. That’s no longer the case. For Berkeley, and for public education in California at the highest level to survive, let along thrive, requires a great deal of help.”
The profile originally appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of The Graduate. Read the full issue here.