A treasured Rattler was celebrated during a memorial service in the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Lee Hall Auditorium Jan. 3.
Margaret Lewis, Ph.D. a retired dean of the FAMU School of Nursing was remembered as a no nonsense administrator, who led the school to unprecedented heights. During her many years of service to FAMU Lewis worked as a staff nurse at the FAMU Hospital and in various professor positions. A U.S. Army veteran, Lewis enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps in 1953 and served as a finance officer in Japan before being honorably discharged.
While addressing the audience, University Interim President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. said he learned a great deal from Lewis throughout the course of his tenure at FAMU.
“She was very special. She had a kind heart. It really was the influence that Dr. Lewis had on me that sent me on my path to senior administrative leadership at Florida A&M University,” Robinson said.
As dean, Lewis oversaw every component of the school’s baccalaureate program, leading to it being recognized at the local, state, and national levels. She also implemented various degree programs to include a master’s degree with a specialty in advance adult/gerontological nursing and collaborated with the University of Florida’s College of Nursing on a cooperative doctoral program in nursing science.
Following her retirement, Lewis’ name was etched into FAMU history. In 2007, the FAMU School of Allied Health Sciences Building was named in honor of Lewis and Jacqueline B. Beck, founding dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences.
Ruena Norman, Ph.D., former Interim Dean of the School of Nursing, said Lewis was her mentor and the person who encouraged her to go on to graduate school and pursue a doctorate degree.
“She was a role model for how to handle difficult situations, faculty situations or student situations. She set the standard for what Dr. Humphries said was “Excellence with Caring.” But before I knew that from him I knew that from Dr. Lewis,” Norman said.
Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from FAMU. She also earned a master’s degree in nursing from Ohio State University and a doctoral degree in administration and higher education from Florida State University.