Mar. 20, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 12

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    Kate Levi, Lab Schools graduate, widow of Edward Levi

    Kate Sulzberger Levi–widow of the late Edward Levi, the former U.S. Attorney General and President Emeritus of the University–died Thursday, March 13. She was 85.

    Levi, a resident of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, was a highly respected figure in both the history of the University and as a community leader in Chicago. She served on many University and civic boards throughout her life.

    She and her husband were “a legendary force–in service to our university and to our nation when Edward was Attorney General, at a time when that office suffered from serious wounds,” said Hugo Sonnenschein, President Emeritus and the Charles L. Hutchinson Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College.

    At the time of her death, Levi was actively serving on the Women’s Board of the University and the Board of the Juvenile Protective Association. She also had been on the visiting committees of the Department of Music and the Department of Far Eastern Languages & Civilizations. She served as a Trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the boards of International House, the Great Books Foundation, the Chicago Lying-in Hospital, the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, the Guild of the Chicago Historical Society, and Children and Family Services, Washington, D.C.

    “We have lost one of our greatest treasures,” said President Randel. “Her life was devoted to this university and its well being. We miss her and cannot forget her.”

    Levi was raised in Hyde Park and attended the University Laboratory Schools, where she was a member of the women’s basketball team. Her father, Frank Sulzberger, was a University Trustee.

    She received an A.B. in psychology from Sweet Briar College in Lynchburg, Va., where she was editor of the student newspaper and a member of the basketball team. After graduation, she served as an assistant to Alderman Paul Douglas, who also was a Professor in Economics at that time. Later, Levi worked for Douglas on his successful campaign for the U.S. Senate.

    Her first husband, Rudy Hecht, died in World War II. In 1946, she married Edward Levi, who then was on the faculty of the Law School. He would later successively serve as Dean of the Law School, Provost of the University and President of the University before his appointment as U.S. Attorney General by President Ford.

    “To everyone she knew and every cause she embraced, Kate Levi was gracious, forthright, wise, witty, loyal and uncompromising. She will be much missed,” said Douglas Baird, the Harry A. Bigelow Distinguished Service Professor of Law and former Dean of the Law School.

    Levi was “a person whose generosity represented the expression of a strongly disciplined and life-affirming nature that brightened the public and private worlds in which both she and Edward Levi moved with such distinction and consequence,” said Hanna Gray, President Emerita and the Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emerita in History and the College.

    She is survived by her sisters Ann Wolff and Jean Meltzer, whose husband, Bernard Meltzer, is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Law School; three sons, John, a partner in the law firm Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood; David, a U.S. District Judge in Sacramento, Calif.; Michael, a high-energy physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and seven grandchildren.