Florida A&M University (FAMU) honored three donors who have created endowed academic scholarships for students.
Educators Howard E. and Margaret W. Lewis and alumna Erica A. Hill were recognized for creating endowed scholarships during a ceremony at the Black Archives. Plaques engraved in their names have been installed near the Eternal Flame.
“Your gifts will go a long way toward ensuring student success with academic scholarships in the arts, nursing and for non-traditional students,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., during the Nov. 15 ceremony. “These gifts will be the bridge to help deserving students graduate and go on to being productive citizens.”
Desiring to leave a financial legacy at FAMU, Howard E. Lewis, Ed.D., established the Howard E. and Margaret W. Lewis Endowed Scholarship, which benefits deserving students in the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities and the School of Nursing.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Lewis was appointed head of the FAMU Fine Arts Department in 1958 and served for nearly two decades. It was under his tutelage that the first art building was constructed in 1972. Upon his retirement, he was named professor emeritus and dean of Humanities & Arts. Lewis died earlier this month at age 93.
His wife, Margaret, a native of Jamestown, Fla., earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from FAMU, a Master of Science degree in Nursing from Ohio State University and Doctor of Philosophy degree in Administration of Higher Education from Florida State University.
She began her career in 1958 as a staff nurse at FAMU Hospital and later joined the faculty in 1959. After teaching for a time at the nursing school of Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, Lewis joined the FAMU School of Nursing in 1982 as dean, a role in which she served until her retirement in 2003.
Margaret Lewis is credited with “transforming the School of Nursing into a world-class program by establishing the Registered Nurse-BSN program for graduates of hospital-based, associate degree nursing programs and a master’s program with a specialty in advanced adult/gerontological practice.”
Her contributions to FAMU extend far beyond the School of Nursing. In 2007, the School of Allied Health Sciences Building was named in honor of Lewis and Jacqueline B. Beck, Ph.D., founding dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences. Lewis died in 2016 at age 84.
President Robinson praised Hill for sharing her time and resources to expand opportunities for students
Hill is the embodiment of the joyful giver, sowing into FAMU her time, talents and treasure and creating an unparalleled and enduring legacy at the university through her philanthropy.
“For Erica Hill giving back and lifting up is no after-thought,” Robinson said. “From the day she graduated from FAMU in 1994, she has never forgotten her alma mater.”
A Detroit native with family roots in Tallahassee, Hill was a high school dropout when she recognized that her options were limited without education. She enrolled in a local community college and during that time, saw Sybil Mobley, dean of FAMU’s College of Business and Industry, on the cover of Ebony. Thereafter, she had one goal: to be on the cover of Ebony Magazine.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to give back. This University changed my life,” Hill said. “The University took a chance on me. The best decision I ever made was to come to FAMU.”
In transferring to FAMU to pursue her goal, Hill was simultaneously pursuing her educational endeavors, reconnecting with family, two aunts who lived in Tallahassee, and discovering, “home.”
“FAMU gave me the opportunity to connect,” she said.
Hill has spent more than 20 years in corporate procurement, supply chain management and supplier diversity working for large, multinational organizations like Deloitte Consulting, Ernst & Young and Georgia Pacific as well as corporations, including Primark Stores, in Boston, and MeadWestvaco in Richmond, Virginia.
Throughout her career, she’s delivered corporate supply chain and procurement savings that total more than $200 million and served as a conduit for supplier diversity, leading more minority and women-owned businesses to long-term, lucrative business relationships.
In her current role as managing director, Supply Chain for CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate and investment firm, she leads a global supply chain and sourcing practice valued at more than $1.5 billion and manages 75 supply chain professionals.
“FAMU changed my life and we have to continue to change other lives,” Hill said. “There is more to come.”