Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lead Scholar of African American Studies Elected Next President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation


NEW YORK - Earl Lewis, Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Emory University, has been elected as the next President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation effective March 2013. Mr. Lewis is a member of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Board, and will leave his post as a term Trustee when he assumes the Presidency.

"I am thrilled to have been offered this opportunity to lead the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation," Lewis said. "Mellon is one of this nation's most venerable philanthropic organizations. Its commitment to advancing higher education, the arts and civil society is well established, and it has earned great respect for its leadership in bringing the resources of information technology to bear on the humanities and the arts. With the profound challenges facing higher education, the arts, the humanities and other areas, I look forward to continuing to partner with key sectors in our society and to enlisting new collaborators in the Foundation's examination of its reach, focus, and impact."

Earl Lewis is a historian who holds a B.A. (1978) from Concordia College, and M.A. (1991) and Ph.D. (1984) degrees from the University of Minnesota. After spending four years as an assistant professor of African American Studies at the University of California-Berkeley, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 1989, becoming director of the university's Center for Afro American and African Studies in 1990. From 1998 until his departure for Emory in 2004, Lewis served as vice-provost for academic affairs/graduate studies and as Dean of Michigan's Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.

Over the past quarter-century, Earl Lewis has established himself as a leading scholar in the field of African American Studies. Since the publication of his monograph, In Their Own Interests: Race, Class and Power in Twentieth Century Norfolk (1991), he has co-authored or co-edited six books dealing with the contemporary history and social status of African Americans.

The Foundation's incoming board chair, W. Taylor Reveley III, shared "Earl Lewis will bring to the Mellon presidency a deep grounding in the humanities, as well as an intimate grasp of the challenges facing higher education and serious ideas about how to meet them. He has had extensive experience as a leader and knows how to plan and execute. His style of leadership is warmly collegial. Earl is also graced with boundless energy and a powerful work ethic. He will be a great Mellon president, in my judgment."

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which is headquartered in New York City, makes grants principally in five core program areas: higher education and scholarship, libraries and scholarly communications, conservation and the environment, museums and art conservation, and performing arts. It had $5.3 billion in total assets as of April 1, 2012, and provided $230 million in grants in 2011.

Source: Press release/Photo: Emory University

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