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Monday, February 19, 2018 - 3:30pm
Dobbs Ferry Campus

In celebration of Black History Month, accomplished lawyer, author and human rights activist Loida Lewis came to Mercy College to speak about her late husband, businessman and philanthropist Reginald F. Lewis.


Reginald rose to prominence as a lawyer, financier and leader of TLC Beatrice International. He was the first African American ever to close an overseas billion dollar leveraged buyout deal. He acquired an unprecedented global conglomerate, and paved the way for future entrepreneurs and black leaders.


“He is an amazing role model for the students to see. He’s the American dream: from humble beginnings to high achievement and then turning that toward philanthropy and giving back,” said School of Business Dean Ed Weis.  “It’s important for the students to see someone who  has always earned his way, dreamt big, but took action every day and built relationships — you can’t do it alone.”


Lewis’ appearance represents the College’s ongoing commitment to put its students together with thought leaders and industry experts across all academic disciplines. As part of its Executive Speaker Series, the School of Business has brought in speakers from Fortune 500 companies such as: Facebook, Disney, JP Morgan, Google, Goldman Sachs, Spotify and Essie Cosmetics to name a few.  


Business student Shakim Williams attended the event and related to Reginald’s entrepreneurial spirit which began as a young child with a paper route.


“I remember doing fundraisers as a kid and always keeping track of my sales just like Mr. Lewis did when he was young. It was definitely cool to see what we have in common,” said Williams.


Business major Penelope Urbina was inspired by Reginald’s ability to set goals and always have a clear direction. “You can’t go from 0-100, you have to start somewhere and just keep working, learning and growing from there,” said Urbina.


“Seeing his sense of direction and what you can achieve when you work at something every day was really inspiring. If you set a goal, break it up into things you can do every day and keep working on it you can achieve anything,” said finance major Hosty Hernandez.


Loida Lewis chairs the Reginald F. Lewis (RFL) Foundation and travels the country speaking about her husband’s life and work. In her own career, she was the first Asian woman to pass the New York State bar exam and has a successful career as an immigration lawyer and activist.


To learn more about Reginald F. Lewis, videos about his life and work can be found here and here.