Carleton College President Stephen R. Lewis, Jr. today announced his intention to retire from office effective June 2002. He will have completed 15 years of service as Carleton’s president at that time, and 40 years as a teacher, administrator and economist. A search committee to select his successor is being assembled.
"While we accept Steve’s decision, we accept it with great reluctance," said
Ranny Riecker, chair of Carleton’s Board of Trustees. "I will personally miss
Steve’s enthusiasm, vision, relentless energy, and personal commitment. He has done a fantastic job of building the ethic of stewardship at Carleton by re-involving the alumni and parents in caring for the College and he’s created a collegial atmosphere where all bodies [students, faculty, staff, parents, trustees, and alumni] play their appropriate roles."
Lewis was appointed Carleton’s ninth president in February 1987 and began his tenure that September. In addition to increasing the level of alumni stewardship and appreciation of the College, Lewis’ many accomplishments at Carleton include: placing a greater focus on faculty recruitment and development; helping to lead Carleton through its largest-ever fundraising campaign; creating a Multicultural Alumni Network and revitalizing an admissions program using alumni representatives; increasing diversity among the faculty and senior administration; and enriching the campus with four new facilities plus two more building projects currently underway. Carleton is now recognized as one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges.
"Steve has impacted every aspect of Carleton," said George Dixon, a former chair of Carleton’s board who headed the search committee that appointed Lewis. "He has transcended our expectations by a large margin, and is arguably the best president among those at the nation’s major liberal arts colleges. Carleton has been extremely fortunate to have him."
In addition to the Carleton presidency, Lewis is a specialist in economic policy and planning in developing countries, and has served since 1975 as economic consultant to the Government of Botswana, which awarded him the Presidential Order of Meritorious Service in 1982.
According to a letter released to the campus today, Lewis is looking forward to several activities in retirement—continuing his work in Africa, becoming active in economics again, and spending time with his wife, Judith Frost Lewis, and their family. At the same time, he stressed that he will continue to focus on his leadership responsibilities at Carleton for the next 20 months.
"Steve has been a superb colleague—tough-minded and generous, candid and open to criticism, a work horse and a gracious host," noted John Ramsay, the Hollis L. Caswell Professor of Educational Studies and president of the faculty. "He takes great pride in the quality of Carleton’s faculty and celebrates our achievements. In him, you find a quick wit, a wise mentor, and a passionate steward of the liberal arts. Carleton will search for a successor, but we won’t find his replacement."
An open campus meeting will take place today (Monday, Oct. 30, 2000) at
4:00 p.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. Lewis will be available to answer questions, as will John Roe, a vice chair of Carleton’s Board of Trustees who will help lead the search for the College’s next president. Members of the media are welcome to attend.