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Yale president Levin stepping down after 20 years

Associated Press Modified: August 30, 2012 at 10:31 pm •  Published: August 30, 2012

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Yale University President Richard C. Levin, who transformed the Ivy League school with a major building and renovation program, an expansion in financial aid and growing international ties, announced Thursday he is stepping down at the end of the academic year after 20 years.

Levin, 65, has served the institution longer than any other president currently in the Ivy League. His legacy extends well beyond Yale, with several of his administrators going on to lead top universities such as Duke, MIT, Oxford and Cambridge.

Levin, who plans to take a sabbatical and write a book, also left a major impact on New Haven as Yale became a major retail landlord and began a home ownership program and a college scholarship program for local high school graduates.

Yale's endowment went from $3.2 billion when Levin was named president to $19.4 billion this year. Levin helped raise more than $7 billion during his tenure, Yale officials said.

"He transformed the university in so many ways," said Yale trustee Indra Nooyi, chief executive of PepsiCo. "I'd say that Rick Levin will go down in history as one of the greatest presidents that Yale ever had."

Levin is credited with leading the school's largest building and renovation program since the 1930s. Yale renovated all 12 of its residential colleges and has plans to build two more. About 70 percent of the space on campus has been partially or comprehensively renovated since 1993.

Under Levin, the university improved its historically difficult relationship with its unions by securing long-term contracts. A homebuyers program started in 1994 offered financial incentives to Yale employees to buy homes in the city, and more than 1,000 faculty and staff have participated, Yale officials said.

In 2008, Yale announced what it called the largest increase in financial aid spending in its history, reducing the average cost by more than half for families with financial need, university officials said.

Levin said Thursday that the initiative "made a huge difference in the kind of students we can attract, the very best and brightest from all segments of society and from all around the world."

Yale's percentage of international students went from 3 percent to 10 percent as it offered financial aid to foreign students as well. All students were offered opportunities to study or work abroad, Yale offered leadership education for international officials and emerging leaders and its professors worked with faculty in China and other countries.

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