Published: July 9, 2024

It is with a profound sense of loss and respect that we share news of the passing of Betsy Levin, a trailblazer and cherished member of the University of Colorado Law School community. Dean Levin passed away on July 4, 2024, at the age of 88. She leaves behind a legacy of dedication and a deep commitment to justice and education.betsy levin

Betsy Levin made history as the first woman to serve as Dean at the University of Colorado Law School, a position she held with distinction from 1981 to 1987. Her tenure as Dean was marked by her intellectual rigor and a heartfelt commitment to fostering an inclusive and dynamic learning environment. 

Born and raised in Baltimore, Dean Levin’s early years were characterized by a strong passion for learning. After graduating with honors in Geology from Bryn Mawr College in 1956, she initially worked at the Geological Survey in Washington. Her commitment to furthering civil rights led her to pursue a law degree, starting at George Washington University and then transferring to Yale University, where she earned her LLB in 1966.

Levin clerked for Judge Simon Sobeloff on the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and served as a White House Fellow, assisting Justice Arthur J. Goldberg. Her tenure at the Urban Institute as Director of Education Studies, followed by her role as a tenured Professor at Duke University, exemplify her expertise in constitutional law and urban issues. During the Carter administration, she served as General Counsel at the US Department of Education, further solidifying her commitment to public service.

Dean Levin’s impact extended well beyond her administrative roles. Her greatest joy was found in teaching and mentoring students, shaping the next generation of legal minds with her wisdom and empathy. Her students and colleagues remember her not only for her brilliant legal mind but also for her genuine kindness and belief in the transformative power of education. Her legacy will continue to inspire and guide us, and she will forever remain a cherished part of the University of Colorado Law School family.