3:48 p.m., July 16, 2009----Among the many momentous decisions that were made at the conclusion of the 145th session of the Delaware General Assembly, one was a “no-brainer.”
Both the state Senate and House of Representatives paid tribute to Jerome R. Lewis, director of the University of Delaware's Institute for Public Administration (IPA) and associate professor in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, for his “40 years of distinguished service to the University and to the citizens of the First State.”
In 1973, four years after Lewis joined the University of Delaware faculty, he founded what is now the Institute for Public Administration, a public service unit within the College of Education and Public Policy that has had a major impact within Delaware and the surrounding region for the past 36 years.
The Senate tribute, dated June 29 and signed by Senate President Pro-Tempore Anthony DeLuca, Majority Leader Patricia Blevins and Minority Leader Gary Simpson, included mention of Lewis's creation -- in cooperation with the General Assembly -- of the Legislative Fellows Program, in which competitively selected graduate and undergraduate students work with members of the General Assembly and its staff.
“The Legislative Fellows Program has become a national model, due in perhaps equal parts to the creativity and hard work of Jerome and his staff, to the high caliber of students who have participated and to the remarkably accessible structure of the Delaware General Assembly,” the Senate tribute said. “Among the hundreds of students who have participated in [this] and other programs of the Institute for Public Administration are many who have gone on to distinguish themselves in elected or appointed office in federal, state and local governments and in the private sector.”
The Senate tribute went on to say that Lewis “has brought to his work great respect for the institutions of Delaware government, together with an understanding of its history and a warm sense of humor, all of which have enabled him to impart to his students a unique understanding of, and appreciation for, Delaware government, and, through it, of government and its institutions at every level. In the process, Dr. Jerome Lewis has become...one of the best and most effective ambassadors and advocates the University of Delaware has in Dover.”
The House tribute, signed by Speaker of the House Robert Gilligan, sponsor Rep. Terry Schooley (an assistant policy scientist for the Center for Community Research and Service), and each of the other 39 state representatives, was presented six days earlier on June 23 in conjunction with the recognition of this year's Legislative Fellows, focused on Lewis's educational leadership at the University, in addition to mentioning IPA and its Legislative Fellows Program.
“We acknowledge this exceptional individual for his outstanding dedication and commitment to education,” said the House tribute. “Dr. Lewis has taught hundreds of students throughout his career, many of whom have become elected or appointed officials in federal, state and local governments. He is known as a mentor, adviser, counselor, and friend to many in the public and private sector. [His] accomplishments are an inspiration to all.”
A humble Lewis said of the tributes, “This came as a complete surprise to me, and I'm deeply honored.” He went on to add, “I love working with the legislature and appreciate the process of democracy.”
Article by Mark Deshon
Photo by Mike Baker