Dr. Earl M. Lews was born in McComb, Mississippi on December 2, 1919 and died Saturday, October 13, 2013 in Houston, Texas. He received the following degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Tougaloo College, 1942; Master of Arts in American History, Loyola University, Chicago, 1948; Doctor of Philosophy, Political Science, University of Chicago, 1951; Legum Doctor, Our Lady of the Lake University, 1978; and honorary doctorate, Incarnate Word College, now University of the Incarnate Word, 1989. He was a visiting professor at Howard Unviersity and served as chair of the Department of Political Science at Prairie View A&M College before becoming the Founding Director of the Graduate Urban Studies Program at Trinity University in 1968. He served in that role from 1968 to 1973 and was appointed George W. Brackenridge Distinguished Professor of Urban Studies in 1982. Lewis retired from Trinity University in 1990 and was a professor in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas at San Antonio in the early 1990s.
Lewis was Trinity University's first tenured African American professor.Over the course of his 22-year tenure, Lewis and his colleagues trained and mentored more than 250 men and women to work in the public and private sectors, opening the way for them to contribute to the governance of this region, and far beyond. Graduates of the program routinely became city planners and city managers in major metropolitan areas across the country or attained other professional positions in state and federal government agencies and private economic development corporations..
He was the author of numerous publications and was active on local, state, and national boards and commissions, including the Coalition for the Education of Black Children and Youth in Texas, Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, and the Texas Urban Development Commission. In 1981 he was named the George Brackenridge Distinguished Professor of Urban Studies at Trinity, the first to hold the newly established professorship. He was twice nominated by Trinity for National Professor of the Year. His many honors included the Award for Service to the State of Texas by Texas Ministers for Social Progress in 1976 and the Brotherhood Award by the San Antonio chapter of the National Council of Christians and Jews in 1978. He was also a recipient of the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation Piper Professor award and a member of the Charter Revision Committee of the City of San Antonio, among other honors and civic activities.