HOUGHTON — Houghton College’s sixth president, Dr. Wayne D. Lewis Jr., will be formally inaugurated at 10 a.m. Oct. 1.
Lewis was selected president by Houghton’s Board of Trustees in the spring. The college began the presidential search in October 2020 after President Shirley Mullen announced her retirement at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.
Lewis was recommended to the Board of Trustees by a 21-member search committee co-chaired by John Lee and Carrie J. Whitcher. He began work as president on June 15.
He was serving as the first dean of the School of Education at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., when he was selected to be Houghton’s president. During his tenure, Belmont’s School of Education saw increased enrollment in undergraduate and graduate teacher education programs, launched new undergraduate and graduate degree programs and increased engagement through new and expanded advisory councils for current students, alumni and schools and school district partners.
Before his role at Belmont, Lewis served as commissioner of education in Kentucky, overseeing an agency with more than 1,100 employees and a $5 billion annual budget while also a faculty member at the University of Kentucky.
Through these experiences, Lewis led the expansion of early postsecondary opportunities for high school students, launched Go Teach KY to increase and diversify the public school teacher workforce and led doctoral programs delivered through hybrid and fully online formats. He also served as the founding faculty director of the University of Kentucky’s Black and Latino Male Student Success Initiative.
Prior to that, Lewis taught in public schools in Louisiana and North Carolina.
A native of New Orleans, Lewis completed undergraduate study at Loyola University New Orleans, earned a master’s degree at The University of Akron’s Buchtel College of Arts & Sciences, completed post-baccalaureate teacher certification at The University of New Orleans and earned a doctorate at North Carolina State University’s College of Education.
Lewis, his wife Monica and his daughter Whitley reside in the president’s home in Houghton.
“Some question whether Christian higher education will continue to have a place in our changing nation and world,” Lewis said earlier this year. “To that question, I respond unequivocally, ‘Yes.’ Not only will Christian colleges continue to have a place in our changing national and world context, but I believe God is calling Christian colleges to lead in producing Christ-centered servant-scholars and servant-leaders from diverse backgrounds, who are well-prepared in their respective fields and disciplines and well-equipped for interdisciplinary thinking and problem-solving.”