A commitment to returning the opportunity
Former UM Athletic Director Harley Lewis spent nearly a quarter of a century at UM. Now, he’s giving back through an endowed scholarship that bears his parents’ names. Lewis earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UM, then began working at UM. He served as athletic director from 1976 to 1989. A Butte native, Lewis says his upbringing in the Mining City taught him self-discipline and a “stick-to-it-iveness.” But he credits his UM education with preparing him for a 45-year career in higher education.
To honor his time at the University and his parents for making sacrifices so he could attend college, Lewis established an endowed scholarship three years ago in his parents’ names called the Lovina and Jasper Lewis Scholarship. The scholarship, which should be fully funded within the next two years, will be awarded annually to a deserving junior or senior in the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences. “I grew up in an environment where my mother and dad didn’t have the opportunity to go to a college,” says Lewis. “They worked very hard to provide that opportunity for me, and so when I had the means I decided it was important to create a scholarship – one that supports the University and students.”
After Lewis left UM, he went on to work for the NCAA and then the University of Arkansas as a director of development. Lewis was involved in a transformational fundraising effort that helped establish more than 2,500 scholarships for academically gifted students. The idea behind the scholarship campaign was to keep the state’s brightest students in Arkansas, and ultimately raise the education level of the state’s residents. When asked why giving is important, Lewis says, “a university provides a student a ticket to the future, and it depends on how that student uses that ticket as to whether or not they feel the university did a good job for them. If you feel the university has done a good job, then you need to strongly consider it in your philanthropic giving, and I can certainly tell you that The University of Montana provided me the tools and opportunity to have a solid professional life.”
In addition to contributing to the endowed scholarship on a regular basis, Lewis recently joined the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences Advisory Board and plans to leave a portion of his estate to UM.
"If you feel the University has done a good job, then you need to strongly consider it in your philanthropic giving..."