Earl Lewis (Doctor of Humane Letters)


EARL LEWIS, it is the rare scholar who can establish a record of success in institutional leadership equal to his exceptional gifts as a teacher. Without a doubt, in both areas you have set the bar high, cementing a well-deserved reputation as a visionary in higher education.


Earl Lewis received an honorary degree from Dartmouth at its 2015 Commencement Ceremony. (Photo by Rob Strong ’04)

As a social historian your work engages, illuminates, and inspires with unflinching honesty. The author or co-editor of seven books, including the 11-volume The Young Oxford History of African Americans and the award-winning To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans, you have probed the sometimes painful elements of our shared past to reinforce that ours is, indeed, a shared future.

As vice provost for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies at the University of Michigan, and later as provost at Emory University, your leadership in diversifying the academy has encouraged campuses across the nation to embrace inclusivity not as a challenge to be met, but an opportunity to be seized.

You are a person of prescient insight into the evolving role of our educational institutions, possessing the wisdom gained from your years as a scholar and administrator at some of the very finest. And so your selection in 2012 to lead the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation—a powerful force in support of higher education and the humanities—gives us to believe that perhaps no one has ever been better suited to the work before him.  

For your commitment to strengthening the academy through your scholarship, your passion for teaching, and your skillful guidance of institutions of profound influence, it is Dartmouth’s pleasure to award you the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

President Philip J. Hanlon
Dartmouth College

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