Beloved & renowned UM history scholar dies after battling cancer
Robert Levine, one of the most influential and involved individuals on the UM campus who has worked locally and around the world throughout his life, died Tuesday night at 10:30 p.m. at Jackson Memorial Hospital after a courageous battle with brain cancer.
“I probably have known Bob longer than anyone else at UM; we met twenty-nine years ago,” Steve Stein, professor of history and director for graduate studies, said. “He was a tireless and fearless scholar that provoked serious thought and reflection from his readers – what more could a historian ask for?”
Levine was a professor at UM since 1981. In 1982, he founded the Institute for Public History at UM and later the Center for Latin American Studies. He was also the director for Latin American Studies at UM from 1989-2002.
“Despite the amount of work he devoted to administration, he was the department’s most prolific scholar,” Patrick McCarthy, acting chair of the History Department, said. “At one time or another, he won virtually every major fellowship available to Latin-American scholars.”
According to McCarthy, Levine was one of the best-known and most influential scholars of Brazilian history anywhere in the world. His work on the use of visual images and oral histories in Latin American historical study were highly regarded.
Throughout his career, Levine earned countless awards and honors and served as both educator and administrator at several universities throughout the world. Those he worked closely with describe him as a scholar, an author, a researcher, an editor, a leader, an advisor, a mentor and a distinguished humanitarian.
Lina Del Castillo, Ph.D. candidate for Latin American history at UM, recalls how Levine influenced her.
“I was fortunate enough to interact with Dr. Levine during my first two years here,” Del Castillo said. “I first heard of Dr. Levine through my work at La Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and La Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, where he is regarded as one of the most important scholars on Brazil.”
“He was also a rather quiet, gentle and encouraging mentor,” Del Castillo said.
Others have also been closely affected by Levine.
“I met Bob Levine in 1987, when I enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Latin American history here at the University of Miami,” Michael J. Larosa, visiting associate professor of history, said. “Bob was the consummate professional, always concerned about the vitality of the Ph.D. program and the progress of his students.”
LaRosa believes that Levine’s work will continue to be remembered and appreciated by all those who knew him and by all those who his work will affect in the future.
“There are many people working in universities and colleges in the U.S. and Latin America who owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Bob for his generosity, patience, careful mentoring and dedication as a teacher-scholar,” LaRosa said. “Bob was a scholar whose curiosity and determination kept him focused on the broader theme of Latin American history and culture.”
“His work always focused on ordinary people and their struggles to build better lives for themselves, their families and loved ones,” LaRosa said.
All who knew Levine or have studied his work will greatly miss him.
“I deeply regret Dr. Levine’s passing and will continually be inspired by his dedication to scholarship and to his students,” Del Castillo said.
“Bob was generous, gracious and thoughtful, and his death is a terrible loss to this university and to the scholarly community in the U.S. and Latin America,” LaRosa said.
For a complete listing and description of Levine’s professional and academic achievements, visit www.as.miami.edu/las/levine.htm.
Jorge Arauz can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org