Levy gift to establish endowment for Vanderbilt undergraduate internships

photograph of Diane and Robert M. Levy, a trustee and member of the Class of 1972
Diane and Robert M. Levy, BA’72

A $5 million gift from Robert M. Levy, BA’72, and his wife, Diane vS. Levy, to Vanderbilt University will provide internship stipends for deserving undergraduate students and seek additional giving through a challenge match.

“We are grateful for this most recent gift of Bob and Diane Levy to extend their long-standing support for Opportunity Vanderbilt to the vital need of funding undergraduate internships,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “The Levys’ longtime engagement in Vanderbilt’s transformative financial aid program has expanded many students’ access to a world-class education, and their gift will significantly enhance the experiential and research elements of an undergraduate education.”

In 1997, the Levys established a scholarship that helped lay the foundation for Opportunity Vanderbilt, which provides financial aid awards, without loans, to all admitted students with demonstrated need. The Levys expanded their scholarship with a $10 million gift in 2017.

“Internships play a vital role in positioning our students for the most attractive post-graduation opportunities they wish to pursue,” said Alex Sevilla, vice provost for career advancement and engagement and the Evans Family Executive Director of the Career Center. “The Levys’ support will enable Vanderbilt students from challenging financial circumstances to acquire and accept their preferred internships, and therefore empower their unique career and life aspirations.”

Bob Levy, a Vanderbilt University trustee, is retired chairman of Harris Associates LP, a Chicago-based investment firm. He graduated from the College of Arts and Science in 1972 and previously served on the college’s Board of Visitors among other volunteer roles for the university.

“Diane and I are firm believers in the importance of internships for helping young people gain maturity and to provide guidance on a possible career path,” Levy said. “Internships truly broaden the success of a Vanderbilt education.” He added that his own summer job experiences during college provided valuable experience in the workplace that conveyed to him the importance of internships.

The Levys’ gift includes a match component designed to highlight this need and inspire others to give. He emphasized how personally rewarding it has been for him and Diane to meet students whose lives have been impacted by their philanthropic support. “If you really want to experience the energizing power of a gift, connect with those who benefit, like our students,” Levy said. “We have found that giving to Vanderbilt provides a tremendous source of optimism for the future.”