Bakersfield doctor plans retirement 73 years in the making

Bakersfield doctor plans retirement 73 years in the making
Dr. Norman Levan smiles during a press conference Thursday, March 24, 2011, at which his nearly $14 million donation to Bakersfield College was announced.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A Bakersfield doctor plans to end his 73-year medical career Monday.

Dr. Norman Levan has practiced dermatology in Bakersfield for more than three decades. The 96-year-old physician has continued seeing patients once a week but will transfer his practice to another local physician, according to Bakersfield College spokeswoman Amber Chiang.

Levan is also known for his educational philanthropy. Last year, Levan donated $14 million to the Bakersfield College Foundation to support student scholarships and educational services. He previously donated $5.7 million to Bakersfield College and has donated millions more to St. John's College in Santa Fe, N.M., and to the University of Southern California.

Levan was born in 1916 in Ohio and spent part of his childhood in Detroit. As a USC student in Los Angeles, Levan decided to take the medical school entrance exam "on a whim" and earned the highest score in school history, according to Chiang.

He spent much of World War II as an Army doctor in the Central Pacific.

After a stop at St. John's College in New Mexico, Levan returned to USC and became its first professor of dermatology.

After retiring from USC, Levan took a drive to Bakersfield and eventually moved to Bakersfield in 1980.