Florida A&M University held a plaque endowment ceremony Friday afternoon to celebrate three individuals for their contributions to the university.
Erica D. Hill and the late Lewis family had scholarship funds created in their names. The event was set to be held around the Eternal Flame, but due to frigid weather conditions, the presentation was moved to the Black Archives museum.
FAMU President Larry Robinson and Vice President for University Advancement Shanta Friday-Stroud were in attendance to present the awards to Hill and the Lewis family; Edgar Robinson accepted the award on behalf of his late aunt and uncle, who left a legacy that has outlived them.
Margaret Lewis, 84, passed away in December 2016 and her husband, Howard Lewis, 92, passed away in early November of this year.
Margaret Lewis, who enjoyed a 37-year career at FAMU, was dean of the School of Nursing. Her husband, Howard, was head of the art department for 32 years.
Robinson, the nephew to the late couple who graduated from FAMU’s SBI program in 1968, spoke on his aunt and uncle and reminisced about his memories with them and the effect they had on the community and students at the university.
“My uncle Howard, he was a pillar in our community. His cool and calm collected personality was just beyond belief sometimes. In fact, our grandkids even today make comments about how he would listen to them and he would treat them as though they were just a grown individual… he always would listen,” Robinson said.
“‘To this day, I remember the things that we thought she [Margaret] held us accountable for and we called mean … and she was so grateful, so grateful that she now has the attention as a trainer that my aunt Margaret passed on,” said Robinson who recalled an interaction he had with one of his aunt’s former nursing students.
Hill, a FAMU graduate who accepted the plaque on her own behalf, explained how thankful she was for the decisions she made in life. The Beta Alpha alumna fought back tears as she spoke on the opportunities that her alma mater granted her and the appreciation she feels.
“I am absolutely humbled by this opportunity, and I do view it as an opportunity. I view it as an opportunity because this university has completely changed my life for the positive,” the Detroit native said, “I’ve made a lot of bad choices, but the best decision I ever made was to attend [FAMU] and the second best decision I ever made was to pledge the Beta Alpha chapter of Alpha.”
When the ceremony concluded, the audience gave a standing ovation and bowed in prayer to honor the Lewis family and Hill for all they have done for the Rattler community.