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Rick Lewis arrived on campus in the 1980s as a graduate student, never expecting to make Illinois State his professional home. A graduate assistantship in the Office of Residential Life as he completed a master’s in art sparked a career in Student Affairs that ended with his retirement earlier this year.

Lewis rose from a hall director to become part of the administrative team that formed the Dean of Students Office, where he served until departing as an associate dean. One of his most notable accomplishments was creating the Mobile Dean on Duty as one way to make students more aware of available services.

The hallmark that will define his 30-year Redbird legacy, however, is his commitment to students. Generations of graduates stay in touch with Lewis, who advised student organizations, traveled on Alternative Breaks, and tirelessly advocated for underrepresented groups across campus.

Lewis will continue to influence and encourage students through the Rick Lewis Inspiration Award, which is a part of the Student Success and Excellence Fund. The fund provides first-generation, low-income or underrepresented students the opportunity to receive funding to participate in activities beyond the classroom, including Alternative Breaks and study abroad.

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