Reginald F. Lewis Scholars Honored at U of L System Black Men’s Summit

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The University of Louisiana Monroe hosted a luncheon and pinning ceremony on Thursday where they honored 18 African-American men from the nine member universities of the University of Louisiana system.

The second batch of Reginald F. Lewis Fellows were singled out by UL System Board Chair Liz Pierre, former Board Chair James Carter, and UL System President and CEO. ‘UL System, Jim Henderson.

The ceremony was the culmination of a two-day Black Male Summit at ULM, which aimed to identify solutions to systemic barriers and new opportunities for Black faculty, staff and students in the UL system.

“In a minute, you’re going to be following in the footsteps of those who came before you, and then you’re going to get a pin put on your lapel,” Henderson said at the ceremony. “A lapel pin that says the word ‘erudite’ under the logo you are used to seeing. You are joining a brotherhood whose history is being written. But in 20 years, when one of you will stand on this stage as President of UL System, you can shake hands with the 20th cohort of Reginald F. Lewis Scholars.”

The scholarship program provides an organized three-year educational experience focused on three key areas: academics, social advancement, and community service.

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The program is named after Reginald F. Lewis, who was one of the richest black American men of the 1980s and the first black American to start a billion-dollar company, TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc.

The 18 recipients were chosen for the program based on their academic merit, financial need and demonstrated leadership skills. The 2022 Reginald F. Lewis Scholars are:

  • Grambling State University: Korde’ Cortez and Kamerius Palmer
  • Louisiana Tech University: Brandon Terrance and Joseph Johnson
  • McNeese University: Cadenley Francois and Chima Owunna
  • Nichols State University: Deon Charles and Charleston Rainey
  • Northwestern State University: Jairus Killings and Caiden Matthews
  • University of Southeast Louisiana: Nicholas Gibson and Joshua Randall
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette: Frank Clavelle and Isaiah Crawford
  • University of Louisiana at Monroe: Braxton Jackson and Eric Lair, Jr.
  • University of New Orleans: Brandon Everett and Brandon “Blue” Irvin

In addition to a full scholarship, recipients will participate in the community experience which includes a partnership with the Louisiana Universities Institute of Management and Leadership and a service-learning project; the social experience which includes a focused annual retreat and academic, social and professional mentorship from business, community and academic leaders; and academic experience which includes research projects and a study abroad opportunity during their first year.

Louisiana Tech's Joseph Johnson (second from right) is pinned as the 2022 Reginald F. Lewis Scholar by (left to right) former UL System Board Chairman James Carter, President of the UL System Board of Directors Liz Pierre and UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson at the Men's Black Summit at ULM on Thursday.

State Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans) and Loida Lewis, the widow of Reginald F. Lewis, made appearances at the luncheon and the pinning ceremony via pre-recorded videos.

In addition to the new scholars, outstanding faculty members from Louisiana universities, including a cohort scholar, were recognized at the summit.

  • James Cailler Servant Leader Award: Ruben Henderson of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Sam Speed ​​of Louisiana Tech University
  • James Cailler Award for Innovation and Inclusion: Krisshunn Youngblood from McNeese State University and Devonia Love-Vaughn from Louisiana Tech University
  • James Carter Award for Exemplary Leadership: Ebenezer Aggrey, Reginald F. Lewis Scholar at Northwestern State University

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