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New scholarship program honors long-time engineering faculty member

December 3, 2008

The Dr. William E. Lewis Excellence in Computer Science and Engineering Scholarship has been established in honor of William “Bill” Lewis, who recently retired after 42 years at Arizona State.

The annual scholarship will provide funding for senior students studying in the computer science and engineering program in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering.

The scholarship program is a gift to Lewis from his wife, MaryFrances. She made the surprise announcement at a Nov. 21 event at the University Club organized by Lewis’s children. He thought the reception was to mark only his retirement and 50th wedding anniversary.

Lewis came to ASU in 1966 as an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering.

He later held positions as the founding chair of the Department of Computer Science, assistant dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and interim director for Academic and Communications Technology.

Lewis also was vice provost for Information Technology, ASU’s chief information officer and an associate director of the School of Computing and Informatics in the school of engineering.

He is now an emeritus professor of computer science and engineering, and plans to continue to be involved with university students and colleagues.

Lewis earned an undergraduate degree in engineering in 1962 from The Johns Hopkins University and later a master’s degree (1964) and Ph.D. (1966) from Northwestern University.

He recalls that at the time, “of all the offers I had to teach, ASU made the lowest financially. But ASU offered the best opportunity for a future in education.”

Lewis says his assessment of the potential at ASU for academic advancement has proven true, particularly with the opportunity he had to develop the computer science and engineering program and to continue his affiliation with the program as a senior administrator during the latter part of his career at ASU.

Lewis and his wife say they recognize “the difference it makes in students’ success at ASU when there is caring and support,” and they hope the new scholarship will have that impact.

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