In Memoriam: Jan Ellen Lewis (1949-2018)

Jan Ellen Lewis, former dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and professor of history at Rutgers University-Newark, passed away on August 28 at the age of 69.

Dr. Lewis was a Rutgers-Newark faculty member for over 40 years. During her time as dean, she was committed to hiring a diverse faculty. She also made many efforts to collaborate with other departments and schools at Rutgers-Newark. She once said while describing the school that “it’s not arts or sciences, but arts AND sciences.”

In addition to her role as dean, Dr. Lewis held many positions throughout her career including professor of American history, professor of Ph.D. level courses at Rutgers-New Brunswick, and visiting professor at Princeton University. She was the author of The Pursuit of Happiness: Family and Values in Jefferson’s Virginia (Cambridge University Press, 1985) and was the co-author of the history textbook Of the People (Oxford University Press, 3rd Edition, 2015).

Dr. Lewis received many accolades for her work in the field of history. She held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies, the Center for the History of Freedom at Washington University, and the International Center for Jefferson Studies. She was a member of the American Antiquarian Society, a fellow of the Society of American Historians, and a past president of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. In 2016, she was elected to a three-year term on the New Jersey Council for the Humanities Board of Trustees.

Dr. Lewis was a graduate of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she majored in history. She went on to earn two master’s degrees, one in history and the other in American culture, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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