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As the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition cut the ribbon on a new $8 million expansion Monday, officials also announced a $1 million gift to the institute from Pensacola attorney Fred Levin.

The new 30,000 square foot building has been named The Levin Center for IHMC Research in honor of Levin.

“You are an extraordinary individual who has made a difference that will make a difference for generations to come,” IHMC director Ken Ford told Levin.

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Pensacola attorney Fred Levin shakes the hand of IHMC director Ken Ford, after Ford’s announcement that Levin had given a $1 million gift to IHMC. (Drew Buchanan/The Pulse)

Coming to the podium, Levin first cracked a joke about the cancer with which he was diagnosed in January.

“I’m honored to be here,” Levin said. “With what I’ve been through this last year medical-wise I’m happy to be anywhere.”

Levin spoke about IHMC’s place within the pantheon of Pensacola achievements before taking a moment to recognize Mark Daniel, the disabled man who has been assisting IHMC’s robotics team since 2010 with testing of their powered exoskeleton. Daniel, who recently joined IHMC full time as a research intern, will pilot the exoskeleton as IHMC competes next month in the Cybathon in Zürich, Switzerland.

“This is a fabulous institute,” said Levin.

IHMC’s new research center isn’t the first building to bear Levin’s name. The University of Florida, Levin’s alma mater, renamed its law school the Frederic G. Levin College of Law in 1999 following a $10 million donation. Levin is also a major donor to the new downtown Pensacola YMCA which will be called the Bear-Levin-Studer YMCA.

A not-for-profit research institute affiliated with the University System of Florida, IHMC works to pioneer technologies aimed at leveraging and extending human capabilities.

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