Thursday, February 10, 2005

WERNER LEVI / 1912-2005

UH professor received
international recognition

Werner Levi, a retired professor, was instrumental in the transformation of the University of Hawaii Political Science Department, according to his colleagues.


Werner Levi: He successfully fought UH's mandatory retirement age policy

He also was a revered scholar known for his wit. "He was a very quick-witted guy who could tell stories without missing the important point that he wanted to make," said political science professor Manfred Henningsen, who knew Levi for almost 40 years. "He was a good storyteller and students liked that."

Levi, a nationally and internationally known expert in his field, died Sunday at Castle Medical Center due to complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 92.

Levi was born in Halberstadt, Germany, in 1912.

Levi, who obtained three doctorate degrees, was instrumental in the governance of UH and contributed to the national and international reputation of the Political Science Department, Henningsen said.

He was a professor at the University of Minnesota from 1944 to 1963 before he moved to the University of Hawaii, where he served as a political science professor from 1963 to 1977. He also taught international law.

From 1970 to 1971, Levi served as chairman for the UH-Manoa Faculty Senate.

Deane Neubauer, executive director of the Globalization Research Network at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, who married his wife, Keiko, at Levi's Manoa home in December 1978, said, "He became a source of personal wisdom in the world for me."

"He was a man that managed to accomplish so many things," said Neubauer, who knew Levi for more than 30 years.

Political science professor Neal Milner described Levi as a respected man who bridged the gap between faculty and administration. "He was a very eminent scholar," Milner said.

Levi had written a dozen books on international relations.

Levi also had an impact on changing UH's mandatory retirement age policy. In 1976 he challenged the policy, which was set at 65. The state Supreme Court later ruled against the policy, stating the general state retirement age is 70. Levi was awarded damages in the lawsuit.

Though he was not reinstated as a professor, Levi continued to teach at the university as a lecturer until the late 1990s, Henningsen said.

Levi is survived by son Matthew, a private detective in Honolulu; daughter Antonia, professor and author at Portland State University in Oregon; three grandchildren; and brother Rudolf, a retired surgeon. A private family service will be held.

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