Emory's next provost and executive vice president for academic
affairs will be Earl Lewis, dean of the Horace H. Rackham School
of Graduate Studies and vice provost for academic affairs/graduate
studies at the University of Michigan. Lewis, who will arrive July
1, was confirmed by the Board of Trustees after being nominated
by President Jim Wagner on March 2.
of four finalists identified over a six-month search, Lewis emerged
as the top candidate following campus visits by all the finalists
in late January and early February. He is Emory's first permanent
provost since the departure of Rebecca Chopp in June 2001.
is with great enthusiasm that I nominate Earl Lewis to serve as
Emory's next executive vice president for academic affairs and
provost," Wagner said. "Owing to his experience in academic administration,
his roots in the humanities and his particular experience in graduate
education, he will bring a rich portfolio of capabilities that
will be a strong complement to those already part of Emory's leadership
am just thrilled," Lewis said from Ann Arbor, Mich. "I'm thrilled
about the opportunity and excited to get down to Atlanta and begin
determining what are the biggest priorities facing Emory."
Elsa Barkley Brown and Robin D.G. Kelley Collegiate Professor of
History and African American and African Studies at Michigan, Lewis
becomes Emory's first African American provost and the highest
ranking African American administrator in University history. He
earned his B.A. in history and psychology magna cum laude from
Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.) in 1978. Lewis went on to earn
master's and Ph.D. degrees in history from the University of Minnesota
in 1981 and 1984, respectively.
has served as dean of the Rackham School since 1997 and became
vice provost in 1998. He joined the Michigan faculty in 1989 and
the next year became director of the school's Center for Afroamerican
and African Studies. Lewis also spent four years as assistant professor
of Afroamerican studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
has terrific experience as a graduate dean, and the graduate school
is one area people feel needs to be addressed here in order for
Emory to move to the next level," said Ron Gould, Goodrich C. White
Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science and a member of the
Provost Search Advisory Committee. "He was calm, confident and
well prepared. He'd done his homework and knew a lot about us.
With his experience, combined with his personality and approach
to his work, I think we have found ourselves a very good provost."
is a seasoned scholar and academic administrator, experienced at
a highly energized intellectual institution," said Mike Mandl,
executive vice president for finance and administration and also
a member of the search committee. "The comprehensiveness with which
he thinks about the issues facing higher education and institutions
like Emory sets him apart from the other candidates. His particular
strengths in the graduate realm at one of the top graduate schools
in the country was also distinctive."
in the public forum held during Lewis' campus visit on Feb. 16,
he stressed the importance of graduate education in any university
and said the "future of Emory rests on the reputation of strong
graduate programs." Lewis identified some steps to strengthen that
reputation, including providing increased stipends and health care
benefits for graduate students; and recruiting Emory's first and
second choices--not the third or fourth--for doctoral students, which
will in turn draw the top faculty.
also revealed that he almost came to Emory as a faculty member
20 years ago but decided on Berkeley instead, though he said he
has several colleagues here who formerly were at Michigan. He self-deprecatingly
acknowledged he was the "laggard candidate" in Emory's search--Lewis'
candidacy was announced publicly some two weeks following that
of the other three finalists--but said he hoped the community understood
that he needed to "reconcile what was right for me and my family."
search committee members said Lewis was worth the wait.
me, when you've read piles of dossiers, met and discussed them
in detail, and then sat for hours interviewing candidate after
candidate, you know immediately when you've got a live one," said
committee member Martine Watson Brownley, Goodrich C. White Professor
of English. "The caliber of Dean Lewis' questions and comments
showed not only that he knew the kind of University we are but,
equally importantly, that he understood the kind of institution
we want to be."
2000 Lewis co-edited To Make Our World Anew: A History of African
Americans (Oxford University Press), and he also is the author
of In Their Own Interests: Race, Class and Power in 20 th Century
Norfolk (University of California Press, 1993). Lewis has
written more than three dozen essays, articles and reviews, and
he co-edited the 11-volume The Young Oxford History of African
2002 Lewis chaired the board of directors for the Council of Graduate
Schools, and he has been a member of several editorial boards.
His research projects have been funded by the Rockefeller, Ford,
Mellon and National Science foundations, among others, and in 1999
he received Michigan's Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award.
Lewis is an ideal fit; his collaborative managerial style will
mesh perfectly with that of the current administration and will
allow students and faculty to play a part in shaping the decisions
that will affect them," said senior Euler Bropleh, president of
the Student Government Association and the sole student representative
on the search committee. "Students want administrators who are
willing to listen and take action on their concerns. Dr. Lewis
will do this. He also has a warm personality and is full of energy."
echoed this last sentiment. "In addition to his estimable professional
background and capabilities, Earl has a winning and energetic personality," the
president said. "His visionary outlook on the future of higher
education will enable him to jump in immediately to help lead our
strategic planning process and to set priorities for Emory's future
advancement. He and his wife, Susan, will be wonderful additions
to the Emory family."