We mourn the passing of Ambassador Burton Levin. Burt taught part-time in the Political Science Department at Carleton as the SIT Investment Visiting Professor of Asian Policy from 1994 until the fall of 2013. He enriched his classes with accounts of his long career in the U.S. State Department at embassies and consulates in Taipei, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and finally as the Ambassador to Burma from 1987–1990. After his retirement from the State Department, he headed the Asia Society in Hong Kong.
Burt’s fall and spring courses here were legendary. He was a great storyteller and, when teaching with Roy Grow or other faculty, Burt would supply the practical side of International Relations theory. He inspired many students to lead lives of public service. He received an Honorary Degree from Carleton in 1993.
Burt moved easily in the world of diplomats, trusted by U.S. presidents of both parties. But he always retained a self-deprecating sense of humor and humility. He was kind, thoughtful, funny, and interested in his students and all those around him. In the words of one of his colleagues, “He was a national treasure.”
Burt is survived by his wife, Lily, and children, Cliff ’87 and Ali ’88. A more complete obituary and information about services will be forthcoming.
Please keep all of Burt’s family, friends, former colleagues, and students in your thoughts and prayers.
Read more and leave your remembrances on the Farewells page.