Spring 2010

[Alumni News]

Jeff Levine, Dan Travis

Diplomatic duo

Josh Levine and Dan Travis Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy Budapest.

How many U.S. Embassies in the world can say they have two Humboldt grads on staff? That’s the case at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, Hungary, where Jeff Levine and Dan Travis both serve. (For the record, at least one other pair of alumni serve together, at the U.S. Embassy in South Korea.)

Jeff Levine (‘76, Journalism) worked as a reporter for seven years before he entered the Foreign Service. He received his master’s degree at National Defense University in 1999 and until January served as the Charge’ d’affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest. The Charge’ is the senior diplomat at an embassy when no Ambassador is present and Levine served in that position until the new ambassador appointed by President Obama arrived. Levine is now the Deputy Chief of Mission and will remain in Budapest until the summer.

Levine has served in seven overseas posts with the Foreign Service, including stints in Peru, Egypt and Cyprus. But perhaps his most unexpected turn of events was the assignment of Dan Travis, a fellow HSU alum, to the embassy in Budapest.

Travis (‘92, Theater Arts) grew up at Humboldt State University. His father was the director of HSU’s Career Development Center at the time. But it was his love life that had the most profound impact on his future. Travis’ wife, Kasia, was a Polish exchange student at HSU in 1988, and he followed her back to Poland after graduation, where he started his career in government.

Today, Travis serves as Consul and Second Secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest. His job requires him to think on his feet every day to solve problems. Once, while serving in Ghana, the Secret Service agent assigned to open President Carter’s door was denied access to the event. It was Dan’s responsibility to find a way to get him in. “At the time, we were speeding across rough African roads in armored Suburbans,“he says. “I had to call one of my contacts in the Ghanaian President’s entourage and convince him that if the Secret Service man was not allowed on the premises, President Carter’s detail would not let him out of the car. And it would all happen in front of the international press. Needless to say, he made it in.”