Stephen Lewis is President Emeritus of Carleton College. During Lewis’s presidency at Carleton (1987-2002), the College substantially expanded its international programs, its international student body, the proportion of US minority students, and its applicant pool for admissions; diversified its faculty and staff (in gender, nationality and race); reformed its governance system; adopted new procedures for faculty personnel decisions; increased support for faculty development; improved the quality and quantity of student services; substantially increased alumni financial and volunteer support of the College; constructed major new facilities, enhanced academic programs and student life; and more than tripled Carleton’s net financial worth.
While at Carleton, Lewis was twice on the Board of the Consortium on Financing of Higher Education, and served once as chair; he also chaired the boards of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest and the Minnesota Private College Council. Since retiring from Carleton, he has served as a consultant to several colleges, their presidents and their boards.
Lewis joined the faculty of Williams College in 1966. He was executive secretary to the committee that recommended in 1969 that Williams become coeducational, and twice served as Provost of the College (1968-71 and 1973-77). He also chaired the Committee on Priorities and Resources for the 1980s (1979-80), and a Financial Aid Task Force (1982-83) on financial aid and admissions policies. From 1984 to 1986 he chaired the Economics Department and the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility. He was the Herbert H. Lehman Professor of Economics from 1976 to 1987.
A specialist in the economics of developing countries, Lewis was Research Advisor to the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in Karachi, Pakistan (1963-65), Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in Kenya (1971-73), and Economic Consultant to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in Botswana (1975-1996), resident in Botswana 1977-78 and 1980-82. He has written five books and several dozen articles on economic development.
Lewis holds a BA from Williams College and an MA and PhD from Stanford University. He has taught at Stanford, Harvard, the University of Nairobi, and the University of Sussex, in addition to Williams and Carleton. Williams, Carleton, Macalester College, Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, and Lingnan University in Hong Kong have awarded him honorary degrees.
Lewis is a Trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, William Mitchell College of Law, and Wallin Education Partners, and is on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He is Chairman of the Board of certain Columbia Funds, the $100 billion mutual fund group that was IDS Funds, and chairs the governance committee at Valmont Industries, Inc.
He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife, Judith Frost Lewis.
I have agreed to join Ann Duffield & Colleagues in a mentoring role with new college and university presidents because, having benefited greatly from a number of mentors, myself, I am interested in development of talent in organizations and believe that leaders have an obligation to function as teachers and mentors to others who would take up such responsibilities. I benefited from working closely with collegial and supportive chief executives and trustees since the late 1960s at Williams, Carleton, other non-profit organizations and for-profit boards. Now, I try to “reciprocate” by counseling rising leaders.
Over the past forty years I have had mentoring opportunities in situations as varied as the research group of young Pakistani economists I supervised in the 1960s; mentoring direct reports, middle management, new department chairs and younger faculty at both Williams and Carleton; assisting with the development of local economists, civil servants and even ministers in Kenya and Botswana; and in recent years mentoring newly appointed college presidents. Also recently, I have been meeting with boards at colleges to discuss board development, board philanthropy, and governance issues. Issues change over time, but the need for shared learning and counsel continues.
As Yogi Berra says, “You can observe a lot just by watching,” and I had many good examples to observe – for instance, Williams’ success at developing alumni stewardship. I was able to take some of those lessons to Carleton and build on them. In the four years before I arrived at Carleton in 1987, total cash gifts had averaged about $8 million. In my last six years, cash giving never fell below $20 million and averaged nearly $25 million. Alumni annual giving grew at an annual compound rate of 10%, and participation increased from 43% to 54%. We built a 50th reunion program and a planned giving program that by 2002 had produced $100 million in future expectancies for the college. As a trustee of William Mitchell College of Law I have served on the advancement committee and worked with leadership to develop aggressive fundraising goals and revised processes, using the lessons from Williams and Carleton. I have also counseled several new college presidents on fund raising strategies.
When I became Provost at Williams, colleges had just begun to focus on total return investment and to move away from spending only dividends and interest on their portfolios. I led development of Williams’ endowment spending policy and sat with the trustee investment committee. At Carleton I met regularly with the investment committee and worked with the treasurer to change spending policy. At the Northern Star Council of the Boy Scouts of America I led revisions of endowment spending policies, chaired the investment committee, and developed investment guidelines and processes for regular review of managers. I sit on the investment committee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. I also am a director of the mutual fund group that began as IDS and had several other names (American Express Funds, RiverSource Funds). We have oversight of $100 billion of Columbia Funds.
My most influential mentors (administrators, trustees and faculty) at Williams were strong advocates of shared governance. At Williams from the 1960s to the 1980s I worked to help formalize faculty and student participation in on-campus committees with administrators and helped develop the practice of forming trustee-faculty-student-staff-alumni committees to address major issues. I followed the latter practice for two major strategic planning exercises at Carleton. At Carleton we revised the governance system to introduce a more collaborative system for faculty review and tenure decisions to provide greater accountability for both faculty and the president and dean. I look forward to working with new college leaders through ADAC both to share lessons I have learned and to continue learning from them