As Tom Klein (A.B. Philosophy 1949, M.S. Economics 1951, Ph.D. Economics 1958) progressed through his academic career in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, he could not have imagined he would one day lead the effort to endow a scholarship in memory of his cousin’s daughter, Chiara Maria Levin (A.B. French ‘06), after her life was taken by a senseless act of violence in a drive-by shooting in Boston following her graduation from U-M.
Chiara was an exemplary student with a passion for learning languages and cultures. Chiara was fluent in French and Italian and proficient in Portuguese and Spanish - every language that RLL offered at the time. In addition to her coursework, Chiara tutored other students in French, Italian, and Spanish. As Dave Mekelburg (A.B. History 08) wrote in a remembrance of Chiara published in the Michigan Daily, she “spent her life in the pursuit of being able to communicate with everyone she met.”
Chiara came from a multi-generational family of Wolverines. Her father, William “Bill” Levin, earned his M.A. History of Art in 1973 and his Ph.D. History of Art in 1983. Her mother, Maria “Grazia” Levin earned her M.S.W. in 1983. Her younger sister, Elena, would go on to earn her bachelor’s degree from LSA’s Program in the Environment in 2010. Including cousins, the family has earned over 20 degrees from U-M.
In 2011, a group of Chiara's family and friends came together to create the Chiara Maria Levin Study Abroad Fund. This fund supports declared RLL majors and minors who study abroad. This past summer, Tom revised the purpose of the gift to include support for student who participate in internships outside of the United States.
Since its inception, the fund has supported forty-four students. Jillian Luciow was one of those students. Jillian graduated in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in French and Francophone Studies, History, and Museum Studies. “Being able to study abroad in France was the most impactful experience during my time at U-M,” says Jillian. “It was an incredible experience to be completely immersed in the French language and culture that I’d studied for years. Having never left the country before, I was incredibly grateful for the generous funding and support that RLL provided to me through this scholarship. Gifts like this create opportunities for students like me to enrich their education and to do things they thought were unobtainable.”
A New Chapter
The family continues to support Chiara’s memory through gifts to RLL. Tom Klein recently presented the department with an exciting opportunity to considerably increase the funding for the study abroad scholarship that bears her name. Tom has agreed to match up to $30,000 in donations the Chiara Maria Levin Study Abroad Fund. Thanks to Tom’s generosity, we are able to provide a two to one match on donations made to the scholarship through December 31, 2022.
Our alumni repeatedly tell us studying abroad transformed their lives. Your gift during this matching fund period will support the next generation of Wolverines as they undertake their adventures.
Chiara Maria Levin Study Abroad Fund
Between now and January 1st, gifts to Chiara Maria Levin Study Abroad fund will be matched 2:1 up to a total of $30,000.
Please help us take full advantage of the generosity of Chiara’s family and make the most of this exceptional opportunity here.
Jillian Luciow, RLL Graduate and Chiara Maria Levin Study Scholarship Recipient. Pictured here studying abroad in France.