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Behrman-Levin award celebrates commitment to community

David Rubin and Mike Miles

David Rubin and Mike Miles

During their combined 61 years on the UNC Kenan-Flagler faculty, legendary professors Jack Behrman (1964-91) and Dick Levin (1959-91) fostered a strong sense of community among their students and colleagues.

To honor their memories and ensure that sense of community lives on at UNC Kenan-Flagler, a group of their former colleagues – led by retired professors Mike Miles and David Rubin – have created a new MBA student award. By establishing The Jack Behrman and Dick Levin Award, Miles and Rubin want to encourage students to recognize and benefit from their obligation to support each other.

“Behrman and Levin taught that we owe a responsibility to each other and to the institution in which we worked and studied,” says Miles. “It was a watchword for them that we all had the obligation to both ‘bring something to the table and leave something on the table.’ After the passing of these legends last year, it is time to remember what they taught us.”

Rubin hopes “this award captures Jack and Dick’s spirit of commitment by building and fostering a sense of community and pushing everyone – students and faculty – to give their full effort.”

“A full-time MBA program is different from other educational experiences in that students are intentionally recruited from diverse backgrounds so that they can learn from each other,” says Miles. “The job of the faculty is to organize the material and present it to students in an interesting, provocative way. As students subsequently reflect on the in-class experience, they should learn at least as much from each other as they do from the faculty.”

Behrman, an international business and ethics professor, had high standards for himself and others around him. “He took a strong interest in younger colleagues, challenging us about what we thought was important and prodding us to expand our horizons to do more and better than we were doing,” says Rubin. “He was always interested in what we were up to.”

Management professor Levin was known for developing his own business cases and teaching entrepreneurship “before it was cool,” says Miles. “He took things seriously and there always had to be a discussion.”

“Among Levin’s strongest traits were his love of and loyalty to those he cared about,” says Rubin. “His magnetism was unique.”

“The award is not necessarily for the student with the highest grades or who did the most for UNC Kenan-Flagler,” says Sridhar Balasubramanian, senior associate dean for MBA programs. “Rather it is for the student who did the most to improve the educational and developmental experience of their classmates.”

Second-year MBA students submit nominations for their classmates. This year’s recipient, Eric McAnelly (MBA ’18), was chosen by a selection committee of MBA Program leaders and MBA Faculty Teaching Award winners. In the future, the award recipients from the two previous years also will serve on the committee.

Ultimately, Miles, Rubin and the School hope to generate enough funding to permanently endow The Jack Behrman and Dick Levin Award.

“Because they inspired and shaped me,” says Rubin, “I’m happy to repay some of the debt I owe Dick and Jack by helping to establish this award in their memory, to ensure that the values they strove for continue to inspire and shape younger generations.”

“If you knew Behrman or Levin, we hope that you look back on your days at the Business School and remember what you gained from them,” says Miles. “They understood the importance of talking about truth and what matters, and dedicated their lives to educating people – and had fun doing it. We want to help preserve that sense of community and help current students know the value of building relationships in today’s disjointed world.”

To support The Jack Behrman and Dick Levin Award Endowment, visit UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Make a Gift page.