Earl Lewis

Honorary Degrees

California State University, Fullerton​

Dr. Earl Lewis is a renowned scholar and noted author whose lifelong commitment to higher education has made a profound impact in advancing the causes of the arts, humanities and diversity. Dr. Lewis most recently served as the sixth president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, during which time he advanced the foundation’s mission, resolute in his commitment to advocate for the importance of diversity and the value of connecting universities to their communities.

Under Dr. Lewis' leadership, the Mellon Foundation awarded grants in excess of $1.2 billion in support of higher education, the arts and the humanities. The foundation recently awarded a $2.2 million grant to fund the prestigious Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program for five CSU campuses, with California State University, Fullerton serving as the lead institution. The transformative impact of the MMUF program on Cal State Fullerton will be vital to the success of underserved students, enriching their lives in immeasurable ways.

Prior to joining the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Dr. Lewis served as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and as the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of History and African American Studies at Emory University. Dr. Lewis has held faculty appointments at the University of California, Berkeley (1984–89) and the University of Michigan (1989–2004). While at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he was a faculty member and graduate dean, he immersed himself in the legal battle over the university’s use of affirmative action in admissions, which the Supreme Court eventually decided in 2003. He is now developing a long-term Mellon project that will produce annual reports showcasing scholarship on the value of diversity. Countless awards have been bestowed upon Dr. Lewis in recognition of his outstanding achievements and contributions to the educational community. Dr. Lewis is an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters recipient by Carnegie Mellon University, Rutgers University-Newark, Dartmouth College and Concordia College. In addition, he received an Outstanding Achievement award from the University of Minnesota and the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service award from the University of Michigan.

In recognition of his many exemplary achievements and contributions to higher education, the university, the arts and the humanities, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Fullerton are proud to confer upon Dr. Earl Lewis the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.