June 17, 2011
The Reginald F. Lewis Foundation has made a gift of $1.5 million to Harvard Law School to continue the Reginald F. Lewis Fellowships, an 18-year-old program that has offered fellowships annually to law graduates who have demonstrated a strong interest in law scholarship and teaching.
Shortly before his passing in 1993, Reginald F. Lewis ’68 gave HLS a gift of $3 million, the largest grant in the law school’s history at the time. That year, HLS’s International Law Center was named in his honor, and the fellowship program was established. Lewis was African American, and the Lewis Fellowship program aims to enhance diversity in the profession of legal educators.
“The impact that these fellows and interns have had over the years speaks volumes about my husband and the Lewis legacy,” said Lewis’s widow and Chair of the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, Loida Lewis. “Much like the man whose name is on this Fund, the Lewis Fellows and Interns have been given a remarkable opportunity to make a difference in their academic and clinical achievements that will continue to shape the future of law school training, research, and international legal reforms.”
Said HLS Dean Martha Minow: “I am deeply grateful to the Reginald Lewis Foundation and to Loida Lewis for their continuing generosity and support. Reginald Lewis was not only one of the finest students to graduate from the Harvard Law School, but he was also a trailblazing entrepreneur and global thinker who was determined to share his own success with future generations of young lawyers. Wisely, he chose to support those who are committed to becoming teachers of law with an eye to the ways that law can help achieve social justice at home and around the world. With this new gift offering crucial support for the Lewis Fellowships, his visionary legacy not only endures, but flourishes.”
Lewis Fellows are required to prepare a major article for publication and to follow a schedule of research, scholarship and coursework, including the opportunity to audit courses at Harvard Law School. Many Lewis fellows and interns travel abroad to pursue empirical research that will enrich their understanding of international law and global affairs, with the aim of enhancing their ability to influence the future of legal reform.
“Loida Lewis and the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation have been great friends to Harvard Law School for many years, and this personal example of leadership is a source of great inspiration,” said Steve Oliveira, Associate Dean and Dean for Development and Alumni Relations at HLS. “The fellowships offered in Reginald Lewis’s name will allow our program to continue to develop like-minded, values-driven leadership from some of the top candidates worldwide. We are thrilled to be able to continue the Reginald Lewis Fellowships tradition here at Harvard Law School.”
Mr. Lewis, a successful lawyer, entrepreneur and financier, was the first black person to build a billion-dollar company, TLC Beatrice Foods International, for which he served as founding CEO. He was co-author of the book, Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? Loida Lewis ran TLC Beatrice International after her husband's death. She is a member of the board of the Philippine Development Fund. For more information, visit www.reginaldflewis.com.