January 31, 2005

Lecture Hall Named After Former Dean

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Last Monday, many students in the College of Arts and Sciences may have been confused when their schedules said that they were taking classes in “G.S. Lewis” instead of “G.S. D.” In October, Goldwin Smith’s Lecture Hall D was renamed and dedicated to former Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, Philip E. Lewis, who resigned from the deanship in 2003.

According to Carol True-Palmer, public affairs officer for the arts college, Robert Katz ’69, a member of the Board of Trustees and the Arts and Sciences Advisory Council, provided the “sizable gift” that led to the room’s dedication.

“[Katz] wanted to honor him as he was stepping down as dean,” she said.

In addition to the Goldwin Smith lecture hall, a number of rooms in the newly renovated White Hall have been designated in Lewis’s honor, True-Palmer added.

Lewis was appointed dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1995 after serving as one of the college’s associate deans and as chair of the Romance Studies Department. As dean, Lewis was behind a number of the college’s key initiatives, including building projects and major adjustments to curricula.

In particular, Lewis oversaw the major renovations in White Hall and presided over a review of the college’s distribution requirements, which led to a reformatted curriculum in the college.

According to G. Peter Lepage, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, the distribution overhaul was “one of the most significant changes in a couple of decades.”

In addition, Lewis was responsible for restructuring the college’s budget to reduce non-academic costs and allocate more money to faculty recruitment efforts.

Lepage identified the former dean as “a strong voice in emphasizing the necessary priority of academic intellectualism…for all sectors of the University.”

Friends, colleagues and fellow administrators participated in the dedication ceremony, which included speeches by President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77, Lepage and Lewis himself.

Lewis, who was gratified by the dedication said, “it’s an honor, and not something I was expecting after I left the dean’s office.”

Reflecting on Lewis’ administration, Lepage said, “As his successor, I was benefited tremendously that the college was in good shape… He made a tremendous contribution in a leadership role for all those years.”

Lewis, who has returned to the Department of Romance Studies, was asked to resign by Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin in the summer of 2002 after a series of disagreements between Lewis and the university’s central administration. According to Lewis, he and the central administration could not reach consensus on a number of topics, including a vision for the future of the arts college and admissions procedures. His resignation became effective in the summer of 2003.

At the time of publication, Lewis could not be reached for comment.

Archived article by Ellen Miller
Sun Senior Writer