Lewis joined the HBCU as the dean of the NCCU School of Law in 2020, and was just one month shy of celebrating her 2-year-anniversary with the institution.
“The legal community is in shock with the sudden loss of an outstanding attorney and educational leader. NCCU is a very tight-knit family,” said Cassandra Stokes, a 2016 graduate who worked closely with Dean Lewis. “And it’s always devastating and heartbreaking to lose anyone this way.”
According to a statement from the university’s chancellor, Dean Lewis had just begun to make her impact on the community and had a vision from the very first day.
“Her vision was clear from day one in leading the school as one that provides unique opportunities for diverse, talented future attorneys to be practice-ready practitioners,” said NCCU Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye.
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Her colleague, Dean Malik Edwards, says that Dean Lewis had just begun to make her mark on the community and that he is devastated by the news.
“I think there’s definitely a hole. But the good thing is, she had a vision, and she put that vision into place,” he shared. “And luckily, we have structures that allow those pieces to move forward.”
He also shed light on the ways in which she created opportunities for minorities in law during the short period that she was with the school.
“She wanted to be a dean here because she wanted to be at an HBCU. Unfortunately, there are (few) opportunities for first-generation students and for minority students to become lawyers…African Americans represent less than 5% of the bar and that’s something she wanted to change.”