Earl Lewis, dean of Rackham Graduate School, will be leaving his
post this summer for the second-highest administrative position at
Emory University in Atlanta.
Lewis will be named provost and executive vice president of
Emory this summer. He will be the highest-ranking black
administrator in the university’s history, answering only to
Emory’s President Jim Wagner.
In addition to overseeing more than 7,000 Rackham graduate
students, Lewis is currently also the vice provost for academic
affairs and graduate studies at the University.
Lewis joined the faculty in 1989 and has served as dean since
1997. While working as a professor in the history department and
the Center for Afro-American and African Studies, he was appointed
director of CAAS in 1990.
“Earl Lewis has made tremendous contributions to the
University of Michigan as professor, director of CAAS and dean of
Rackham,” said Provost Paul Courant in a written statement.
“He has shown himself to be a visionary and accomplished
academic leader. I salute Emory on their excellent
After the exit of former provost Rebecca Chopp in June 2001,
administrators from Emory convened a search advisory committee to
find someone to fill the empty position last August.
Following several interviews and visits to the Emory campus in
January and February this year, Lewis was offered the position.
Lewis was one of four final candidates considered.
According to Ron Gould, professor of mathematics and computer
science at Emory and a member of the search advisory committee, the
members of the committee believed that Lewis embodies several of
the qualities important to the selection process.
“It was a combination of his experience and his knowledge
of fundamental issues facing big universities,” Gould said.
“His personality and his vision of the future really struck a
chord with the people in the committee.”
After receiving approval from the Emory Board of Trustees, Lewis
will take up his position starting July 1. Wagner announced the
Members of the University community have expressed
disappointment in Lewis’s departure.
“Earl Lewis has been a wonderful faculty member and
administrative colleague during his 15-year tenure at
Michigan,” President Mary Sue Coleman said in a written
“We deeply regret losing him to Emory, but understand his
desire to accept the role as provost.”
Lewis could not be reached for comment.
Lewis majored in history and psychology and graduated from
Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and earned his doctorate from
the University of Minnesota.
Lewis then taught at the University of California at Berkeley
for four-and-a-half years in Afro-American Studies.