Inaugural Reginald F. Lewis Day
Published date: February 25, 2019
The Reginald F. Lewis College of Business celebrated its namesake on Friday, February 15 as part of Black History Month. As part of the celebration, the College welcomed Mrs. Loida Lewis, who is an attorney, CEO of TLC Beatrice and chair of the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation. Also, alumnus Mr. Linwood Hart, who is a businessman and author joined in for the celebration. Hart is also a former friend and college roommate of Reginald F. Lewis.
Comprised of a panel conversation, film presentation, book signing and reception, the event was attended by nearly 100 individuals including students, faculty, staff and alumni. Sadonia Sylvester, an accounting major, said, “That was the best panel conversation that I have ever attended.” Dr. Emmanuel Omojokun, dean of the Reginald F. Lewis College of Business, added, “We are eternally grateful to Reginald F. Lewis and Loida Lewis along with the Lewis family and friends for all of their invaluable support of the College.”
About Reginald F. Lewis
Reginald F. Lewis of East Baltimore, Maryland was one the most successful businessmen in the 1980s. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1968, he helped set up Wall Street's first African-American law firm. This law firm was the first to help minority businesses structure their finances and investments. His company also became a special council to General Foods and Equitable Life. Lewis' personal drive for making business deals became prevalent went he invested in the then struggling company, McCall Pattern Company. Under Lewis’ command, the company turned its highest profit margin in its 113 year history. He sold the company for nearly triple the amount of his primary investment.
After enjoying his success from his first business venture, Lewis went back to work. Lewis purchased Beatrice Foods, an international food supplier. Lewis helped turned the $925 million company into a $1.5 billion company. This success led him to become the first African American to own and operate a billion dollar business in the United States.
In 1993, his life was cut short due to brain cancer. However, the Reginald F. Lewis (RFL) Foundation continues to fulfill Mr. Lewis’ legacy and vision through generous philanthropy. The foundation contributes to the education and advancement for minorities. RFL Foundation started the Museum of African American History and Culture in Baltimore. Numerous scholarship programs and aid have been given to selected universities and colleges, both domestic and foreign. In August of 2010, the foundation made a donation of $1.5 million to Virginia State University. This contribution, in turn, led to the College of Business being named the Reginald F. Lewis College of Business.