The newest building on campus officially has a name. On April 23, Butler President Jim Danko announced that the new 44,000-square-foot sciences expansion building connecting Gallahue Hall to
the Holcomb Building will be permanently named Levinson Family Hall in honor of a $10 million gift from Frank ’75 and Kristin Levinson.
“This gift is not about me but is a testament to all those who invested in me and my education including my family and a number of excellent Butler faculty members,” Frank Levinson says. “I want to support Butler and I realize sometimes it is helpful for others to see people step forward to give. This expansion and renovation project will have a profound impact on generations of Butler students, and I am proud to be able to help provide the kind of quality facilities Butler students and faculty deserve.”
Frank Levinson grew up in Indianapolis and earned his undergraduate degree in Physics and Mathematics from Butler in 1975. He went on to earn a master’s degree and PhD in Astronomy from the University of Virginia, and in 2006 received an honorary doctorate from Butler.
The Levinson family has a long history with Butler and with one of its most iconic buildings. Frank’s mother, Winifred Levinson, earned her Bachelor of Arts in French from Butler
in 1951, and his brother, Carl, earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics in 1978. Frank’s father, Alan “Buzz” Levinson, earned a Master of Science in Education from Butler in 1953, during which time he helped install and align the telescope at Holcomb Observatory.
As a child, Frank would sometimes tag along with his father as he worked at the Observatory, igniting an early interest in science and astronomy. Years later, as an undergraduate student, Frank was entrusted with access to the Observatory to conduct his own research and saw the need for ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the behemoth instrument, an insight that would later inform his philanthropic giving.
“Frank Levinson’s gifts to the sciences at Butler University have been absolutely transformative,” says Travis Ryan, Associate Provost and Professor of Biological Sciences. “His gifts have greatly expanded the educational opportunities we are able to offer our students in nearly all the sciences disciplines. I am overjoyed to see this renovation and expansion finally coming to life. Levinson Family Hall is a fitting name for a building Frank was so instrumental in making a reality.”
Indeed, anyone who has been associated with the sciences curriculum at Butler University over the past 15 years has been touched by Levinson’s generosity.
In 2008, he made a significant gift that allowed Butler to join the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy, a consortium of universities with remote access to telescopes in some of the darkest locations in the world. Away from city lights, these locations are roughly 100 times darker than the Indianapolis night sky, allowing Butler students at all levels and majors the opportunity to participate in original research astronomy and explore parts of the sky that would not otherwise be visible from Indianapolis.
Levinson’s previous donations also allowed Butler to purchase its first supercomputer and to establish a partnership with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, which includes a student internship program. Levinson’s philanthropy has also supported ongoing updates to the Holcomb Observatory and support for students and faculty attending or presenting research at national scientific conferences.
The Levinsons now reside in the San Francisco Bay area where Frank works as an entrepreneur and investor with several venture capital firms committed to the growth and adoption of renewable energy generation and resources and energy efficient technologies. Together, Frank and Kristin hope their philanthropy will inspire the next generation to be curious and never stop searching for new and better solutions to the challenges facing the world. “Frank and Kristin Levinson are incredible champions for the sciences at Butler University,” President Danko says. “The generous gift they have provided reflects a deep commitment to Butler students and faculty, and to the education of future leaders in science, innovation, business, and technology. I am profoundly grateful to Frank and Kristin for their generosity and investment in our University.”