Harvey Mudd College (HMC) alumnus and Trustee Malcolm Lewis ‘67 (photo, right) and his wife Cynthia have pledged a gift of $500,000 to establish the Patton and Claire Lewis Fellowship in Engineering Professional Practice, honoring Malcolm’s late parents.
The new fellowship is the fourth such program in the HMC Department of Engineering, and will provide an innovative approach to matching students and faculty with practicing professional engineers. Assistant Professor of Engineering Nancy Lape will serve as faculty director of the new Lewis Fellowship.
"I wanted to give students an opportunity to be mentored by professional engineers within academia and industry," Malcolm Lewis said.
Many HMC alumni remember Malcolm Lewis’ father Patton “Pat” Lewis as an adjunct faculty member at the college from 1971 to 1993 who taught the E54 course, which focused on building tools and experiments with the tools. “He had a heart for the college and for the essence of the engineering approach,” Lewis explained.
In addition to teaching at HMC, Pat Lewis served as a Clinic Program advisor and member of the Clinic Advisory Council. He was the chief engineer for a division of Lockheed until his retirement in 1976 and thereafter was active as a practicing consulting engineer until two weeks before he died in 2001 at the age of 84.
Malcolm Lewis’ mother Claire, who died in January of this year at age 91, was a long-time teacher of home economics and supporter of her family and her husband’s career in engineering. She was also a big influence on her son’s decision to attend HMC. “She was very high on HMC,” recalled Malcolm Lewis. “She heard [then-Director of Admission] Emory Walker give a talk and that convinced her I should go there.”
“There is a real art to engineering and solving problems that tends to get lost in the process of learning the analytical parts of engineering science,” he explained. “The fellowship idea is a terrific way to draw the college out into the engineering sector, build bonds and enrich the lives of students. We are excited to be part of that enrichment.”
The Lewis Fellowship program description cites areas of emphasis which student fellows should be afforded the opportunity to experience at HMC. The first item on the list is ethics, which Malcolm Lewis describes as very intentional: “It’s important to suffuse your work with values and ethical constructs that guide your decisions. We live in an era where technology has sometimes run amok and engineering should serve a higher pantheon of solving human problems. We have an obligation to apply our talents to meeting society’s needs. That’s why it’s important to me to honor my mom and dad in this way, as those values were very important to them.”
“I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Lewis family for this generous gift,” said Department of Engineering Chair Ziyad “Zee” Durón ’81. “The Lewis Fellowship, the latest addition to our HMC Fellowship Programs, is designed to provide an integrated, hands-on undergraduate experience in which theory and practice combine to advance the state of the engineering profession. Under the direction of Professor Lape, students will engage in research related to chemical engineering with broad appeal to related and emerging technologies.”
The Fellowship Programs have become a model for undergraduate research experiences that aligns students, faculty and donors around common values. The engineering program at HMC provides a unique blend of learning experiences that allows students to demonstrate capabilities across a wide range of engineering disciplines. At the heart of the program is professional practice.
“The Lewis Fellowship program will be a living example of the professionalism that Pat Lewis displayed while he was a member of our engineering faculty,” Durón said. “I had the privilege of working with Pat on a series of consulting projects in Southern California, and it was during this period that I came to appreciate how meticulous, practical and insightful he was as an engineer.”
The Department of Engineering's first fellowship focuses on civil engineering and was begun in 1998 by Robert De Pietro ’69 and his brother, Dennis, to honor their parents, Frank and Frances. The other fellowships include the Mary Jane and Robert Engman Research Fellowship Program (biomedical engineering) and the Jay Wolkin ‘99 and Clay Family Foundation Fellowship (electrical engineering).
The Lewis’ multi-year pledge will create an endowment that will provide income to fund the fellowship. In a unique and generous arrangement that will allow the program to begin immediately and before the endowment is fully funded, they have agreed to make additional annual contributions to make up the difference.
Malcolm Lewis is president and CEO of Constructive Technologies Group (CTG) in Irvine, Calif. CTG is a group of multi-disciplinary technical consulting firms dedicated to innovative problem-solving in the built environment. CTG Energetics focuses on sustainability and energy efficiency in buildings and communities. CTG Forensics concentrates on applying building science to buildings and projects to reduce risk or respond to failures.