Skip to main content


   To describe classmate Steve Leventhal, Washington D.C. raised, and still located there, calls for many scenes, as do most plays.

   Steve spent a year at Yale Drama School from 1966-67 (after receiving his Cornell Civil Engineering degree) studying "theater engineering," and that permitted him to take acting and directing, as well as technical courses. "I always loved acting, and I still try to attend over ten theatrical productions a year," shares Steve. Yale Drama was but one scene Steve’s life who next strutted upon the stage as a sometime actor while a systems analyst and at law school (American University, JD '71) preparing for his 35 year vocation an attorney.

   With respect to his legal career Steve has been mostly in solo practice doing civil litigation.

   In the 1980’s & 90's, Steve played out another scene in his life by becoming a graduate student at the University of Maryland's Department of Government and Politics, receiving a Master's and PhD in International Relations and Formal Theory (dissertation - "A Non-Linear Analysis of Battle Death Data").

   Over the years he played many more roles: Politician--he ran unsuccessfully in the '80's for the Maryland State Senate; Poet--he has two published poems as well as a poet's website called LiteraryLion (currently inactive); Dad--he has four children: two daughters with first wife Barbara Lucas ('66): Rachel '87 and Mara (Dartmouth '90); two sons, Sean '02, and Justin (RPI ’06), from marriage since 1979 to environmental consultant Donna Merrill; Grandfather--he has 3 grandchildren: Zoe from daughter Rachel; Max and Gabriel from daughter Mara.

   In his spare time, Steve pursues Tai Kwon Doh - currently a 1st degree belt, ("being kicked in the head by teenagers when sparring has improved my reflexes in trial"); writes poetry, stories, plays, screenplays and trial scripts; enjoys computer modeling and game theory. Now, almost retired, he can be found plying the boards at Medieval Times in Arundel Mills, MD as King Alfonso the long running play “Wolf At The Gates” and concurrently (during may and June ’07) at the Heritage theatre as Generals Buford, Trimble and Hood in “The Killer Angels.” Quite coincidentally Editorial Board member Ken Schneider’s son Andrew is starring with Steve in the same production.

   Steve has many interesting memories of his days on the Hill. He describes them in his own words below. “I performed well as a freshman. As a sophomore I transferred from Engineering to A&S. However before the spring term even started, I changed my major to bridge. I played 9 a.m. to dinner in the old Ivy Room and in the evening wherever I could find a game. I was doing rather well attending no classes.

   Most of you had no reason to know this. In 1963 there were two ways to flunk a course. If one took no prelims he, (never a "she"), got a grade of 40. If one took but failed tests, he received a 50. For me this information was important. I attended every prelim in every course. Of course with no classes and no homework, there was no passing. But, I saved those 10 points.

   One P-Chem exam is worth the telling. There were four questions. I opened my Blue Book, wrote "1" on the first page, read the question, turned the page, wrote "2" on the next page, read the question, turned the page, wrote "3" on the next page, read the question. Miraculously I knew that question involved "entropy", though I knew no more. The symbol for entropy is "S". I inked a beautiful "S" on page "3" fully colored and shaded, turned the page, wrote "4", read the last question, and then the prelim was over. Later I went to Baker Lab to see the posted grades. I received 12 out of 100. Scanning the list, I saw someone, identified only by number, received a score of 9 out of 100. I had not written a single word, only one letter in the blue book. I have wondered to this day what someone could possibly have written to receive a lower grade than wordless me.

   Obviously I did not pass P-Chem. I received four 50's and a 60 in Physics, my major. Cornell excused me. I returned home to parents who kindly shook their heads in dismay. My mother insisted I immediately return to college. But no school would have me until Cornell took me back. After work, counseling, and convincing the University my head was screwed on right, Engineering took pity and readmitted me for the spring '64 term, on the condition that I repeat every course including Physics, which I had "passed". How unfair. I returned determined to complete the program in eight terms to redeem some measure of respect from my father. I did, and graduated after the fall '65 term.

   So what does all of this embarrassment have to do with anything? Remember 1971? Sean Connery was 007. I had graduated from law school, but did not relish working at a law firm. Naturally I applied for a job at the CIA in Washington, D.C. After testing, interviews, and background checks, I was ushered into an office (under guard) for a final interview. After chatting, a gentleman informed me that because of my lackluster academic career normally his "company" would not consider hiring me, but for one thing. I had "busted out" of Cornell, and had returned to get my degree. That was unusual for Cornell. That perseverance warranted offering me a job. I can tell you this because I did not take the job, otherwise I'd have to.... I do many times wish I had stuck to poker and gone to class.”

   Steve can be contacted at this address,, and will respond in his usual subtle, yet witty, style.