Dedicated alumnus creates scholarship to support journalism majors

May 22, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For Paul Levine, Penn State is a feeling, something special and something he hopes to share with generations of students.

Paul Levine headshot

Paul Levine

IMAGE: Photo Provided

Levine, 1969 journalism, who served as sports editor and editor of The Daily Collegian as an undergraduate, began his career as a journalist with the Miami Herald. He then attended law school and was a trial lawyer and law professor before embarking on a successful career as an author.

He’s a longtime supporter of the communications program at his alma mater and, with a recent gift, he hopes to make an impact on the lives of students in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications for years to come. His $50,000 gift, paired with an equal match from a recently concluded Penn State program for first-time scholarship donors, endowed the Paul Levine Journalism Scholarship to support full-time undergraduates enrolled in the journalism major who have a demonstrated financial need.

“Tuition has increased greatly since my time at Penn State and state support of public education can fluctuate. That puts a lot of students in a tough spot,” he said. “Any help that can be given to hard-working students, even if it’s just a little bit, to get them through college and not have a gigantic burden of debt is important.

“I think anything a person who has Penn State in their heart and soul can do, they should do.”

Levine, who regularly returns to campus, clearly has Penn State in his heart and soul. He was named an Alumni Fellow in 1993 and Distinguished Alumnus in 2003. His son, Mike Levine, 2003 journalism, graduated from the Bellisario College and worked in communications and sports media before moving to higher education and, in 2018, back to Penn State in the Division of Development and Alumni Relations.

“Paul has been a long-time friend and supporter of the Bellisario College. He is one of our most enthusiastic ambassadors, and though he lives on the West Coast, it’s clear that his heart is in Happy Valley,” said Jose Lugaro, the director of development for the Bellisario College. “The scholarship endowment he established will permanently benefit students, impacting lives for generations to come.”

From his home in Santa Barbara, California, the elder Levine regularly follows Penn State news. Levine has won the John D. MacDonald fiction award and he has been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, International Thriller, and James Thurber prizes. His novels have been translated into 23 languages.

The title character of one of his popular series, Jake Lassiter, was a Penn State linebacker turned lawyer. Levine is also the author of the “Solomon vs. Lord” series. Along with his novels, Levine wrote more than 20 episodes for the CBS military drama “JAG.” He co-created (with Donald Bellisario) the Supreme Court drama “First Monday,” starring James Garner and Joe Mantegna.

This gift will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

Last Updated May 29, 2019