“I encourage everyone to find and follow their dreams,” said Stephen Levine, senior adviser also known for his storm-chasing adventures around the world. He joined the staff at Richland in March of 2008 and retired Aug. 28.
“I’ll miss the family atmosphere and the community, definitely. I’ll have to stop back and touch base,” Levine said.
Levine started here as a part-time adviser working with students on academic probation through the Back On Track program. In 2010, he became a full-time adviser and was promoted three years later to a senior academic advisor.
In 2014, Stephen won the Jean Sharon Griffith Student Development Leadership Award, a moment he cherishes to this day.
“It was an amazing experience to stand in front of the huge audience and hear all the cheers and it was awesome,” Levine said.
Although he helped many students navigate their academics, his work went beyond helping them arrange their class schedules.
“I also founded the Richland Visionary Club which lasted for four years. It consisted of students making a difference in the world and my job was to support them in following their vision of making positive differences. It was exquisite joy to host that,” Levine said.
Levine’s outgoing and supportive personality earned him fame around the campus. It was as if he had a calling.
“My mission is to help people push forward and follow their dreams because everyone who I work with I see as a divine child of God,” Levine said. He said he wants to “help people see their own inner light, their own inner divinity.”
As he leaves Richland, Levine offers students one final word of advice.
“One of the crucial things is there’s been a focus nationally on aiming for a certain career. Now, it’s OK to be undecided but it’s also important to begin to reflect on what would my ideal job be and what does it look like. Then go backwards [and ask], ‘What education do I need and what courses would fit?’” he said.
Levine encourages students to set career goals but adds that it can always be changed. He encourages students to talk with advisers at Richland and university advisers if they plan to transfer.
“The other thing to remember is that if you fall down, you get suspended or probation or whatever, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just like a sports game, the next inning, you can come back and earn six runs,” he said.
“Obviously we have to be practical, [you] can’t be sitting in your living room playing games and that’s your dream. ‘But how do I make a difference? What do I see myself doing to make this world a better place than what it was when I was born? ’”