The Levitt House on the corner of 8th and Kiplinger has undergone a major transformation thanks to a gift from Cornerstone Bank. It is now the home of the E.A. Levitt School of Business and the York College chapter of Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) student business organization. 

“We are excited about this new space. It gives professional legitimacy to our program and improves our brand in a setting that is tied to our school's namesake and benefactor,” said Nick DiToro, chair of the department. The gift from Cornerstone provided for new carpeting and paint, as well as new furniture from Eakes Office Solutions throughout the building

The community is invited to attend an open house to view the upgrades on Thursday, October 18 at 3 p.m. A second open house will take place on Saturday, October 20 from 1-3 p.m. during York College Homecoming. 

The business department has experienced rapid growth in the last few years; business majors now outnumber education majors at YC for the first time in recent history. The success of PBL students at state and national competitions in the last few years has raised the profile of YC’s Levitt School of Business. Accounting as a minor is also becoming more popular

Previously, faculty offices for the business department were in Hulitt Hall, but there was no workspace or classrooms for business students in that facility. In Levitt House, there are four faculty offices, two conference rooms that can be used for upper division classes or collaborative workspace for students, as well as an office for PBL.

PBL meetings and activities take place in the Levitt House, sometimes utilizing the spacious backyard for events such as a recent social for prospective new members and an upcoming induction ceremony.

The house was built by local businessman Elijah ‘Lige’ Levitt, who lived in the residence on the edge of campus for decades with his wife Lorraine. This couple were very involved with the school as well as the community of York. When the college closed in 1954 after a catastrophic fire, Mr. Levitt was instrumental in reopening the school. 

The Levitts provided significant funding to the college through the years. The campus library and college of business bears their name. After their deaths, the residence was willed to York College in 2008 and for many years it served as the president’s residence.  

The house will soon feature a display wall about the Levitts including quotes, pictures, a plaque, and a cane that belonged to the businessman. 

About Elijah Levitt
The Levitt house was the longtime residence of York businessman and philanthropist Elijah “Lige” A. Levitt and Lorraine L. Vodehnal Levitt, whom he married in 1936. Born in 1884, Lige Levitt and his brother immigrated to the United States in 1904 from Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine), with only five dollars between them, as stowaways on a ship. Passing through New York’s Ellis Island, Lige reached Philadelphia where he took a job sewing coats in a sweatshop for six dollars a week. Later, he moved to Dayton, Ohio, where he worked in a lumberyard. 

While in Ohio, Levitt, of Jewish ancestry, converted to the Methodist Church. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1913 with a degree in business. Friends encouraged him to move to York, Nebraska, where he continued to work in a lumberyard. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I. Following the war, Lige returned to York and bought the lumberyard in 1923. Over the next two decades, he invested in real estate and ran a construction business. Lige was elected to the First National Bank’s (today’s Cornerstone Bank) board of directors in 1943, serving as the bank’s board chair from 1957 until 1976. Levitt was known for his many philanthropic endeavors in the York community and beyond.  His leadership and investment played a vital role in the reopening of York College in 1956. He received many honors for his work, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Nebraska Builder Award in 1968. He also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from York College. Elijah Levitt died in 1987 at the age of 103. Lorraine passed away in 2008 at the age of 98.