Malcolm Lewis ’67, internationally recognized expert in the design of energy-efficient buildings and past chair of the board of trustees of Harvey Mudd College, died Saturday October 13, 2012 at the age of 66.
Lewis became the first alumnus elected to the HMC board of trustees in 1973 and served on the board continuously for the next 39 years. In January 2012, he was elected chair of the board, the first alumnus to serve in this position.
“Having had the opportunity to know and serve on the board with many of the founding trustees, I feel like I carry a bit of their founding spirit,” Lewis said at the start of his term as chair. “Their commitment to taking risks to improve STEM education is one that I believe we want to always nurture–not settling for what is working, but challenging ourselves to evolve with the times to become even better at what we do.”
Lewis founded Constructive Technologies Group, Inc. (CTG), a consulting firm that provides support to building owners and designers to optimize the performance of new and existing buildings. Through his consulting work, Lewis educated architects, engineers, building owners, city planners and utility workers about sustainability, building comfort and building efficiency.
Well known for his expertise in the design of sustainable buildings, Lewis was active in the development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system. He served as a board member of the U.S. Green Building Council from 1997 to 2002, as chairman of the (LEED) Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee from 2001 to 2009, and as chairman of the LEED Technical Committee. In 2011, Lewis was named a LEED Fellow in the inaugural class of fellows. He oversaw more than 150 LEED-certified projects, and developed and delivered online training on energy efficiency and sustainability for multiple clients.
A registered professional in mechanical, electrical and civil engineering, Lewis served as the engineer of record for more than 25 million square feet of new construction and renovation projects for the public and private sectors. He managed sustainable design projects at a number of colleges and universities, and was the driving force behind the LEED certification of HMC’s Sontag Residence Hall and Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons.
“I love working with buildings,” Lewis said at the start of the Hoch-Shanahan project in 2002. “They are very tangible, almost everyone lives and works in them, they consume a huge fraction of our energy and natural resources, and they last for a very long time. So it is important to make good decisions before they are built.”
In 2008, Lewis and his wife, Cynthia, endowed the Patton and Claire Lewis Fellowship in Engineering Professional Practice, which provides students with opportunities to be mentored by professional engineers. The fellowship is named in honor of his mother, Claire, and his father, Patton Lewis, a former HMC faculty member and professional engineer.
“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,” Lewis said at the program launch in 2008. “The fellowship idea is a terrific way to draw the College out into the engineering sector, build bonds and enrich the lives of students.”
The Lewis Fellowship program emphasizes ethics, which Lewis described 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.”
The HMC Alumni Association honored Lewis with its Lifetime Recognition Award in 2009. In September 2012, the HMC faculty awarded Lewis an honorary degree for his impressive contributions to the fields of engineering and science, specifically to the efficient design of buildings and communities. Malcolm was also awarded the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Alumni Award for 2013 which was presented to him on October 1, 2012.
Lewis held a bachelor of science degree from Harvey Mudd College, a diploma in Housing/Building/Planning from Bouwcentrum in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and a doctor of engineering from the Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College.