Professor David Lewis Retires
On May 1, a group of nearly 300 long-time colleagues, alumni, current Fellows, friends and family gathered at the Statler Hotel to celebrate the many and varied accomplishments of Professor David Lewis during his tenure at Cornell, and to wish him well as he enters the newest phase of his life: retirement.
A recurring theme at the event was the growth that the CIPA program experienced during the eight years that Lewis served as director, from 2002 to 2010. During this period, enrollment increased from 72 Fellows to a projected 240 this fall, and applications to the program increased by more than 250 percent.
"Dave has given outstanding leadership to the CIPA program over the past eight years, continuing and accelerating the progress made under his two predecessors, Arch Dotson and Richard Schuler. In addition, he has given CIPA a more diversified program, offering Fellows more intellectual challenges and more real-world opportunities," said CIPA core faculty member Professor Norman Uphoff, who will serve as the interim CIPA director in the coming year.
Professor Schuler, who could not attend the reception, sent a letter to be read at the event, which reaffirmed Uphoff’s assertion. "Little did I dream when Arch [Dotson] passed the baton to me, that my successor would take the roots and shoots we tried to spread throughout campus and nourish CIPA’s eruption into the international oak that David Lewis, together with his colleagues, has established. Our growth was linear; his was exponential…" said Schuler.
Lewis was moved by the outpouring of support shown by the many attendees at the reception. "I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of a program that was developing and moving ahead," he said. "CIPA students are just fantastic and I’m proud to have had the opportunity to work with them on projects like post-conflict community development in Bosnia, post-conflict economic development in the Sudan, and post-disaster neighborhood redevelopment in Haiti. They have a positive outlook, they’re capable, they’re cooperative and they’re not afraid of hard work — they are decent people."
Lewis was equally magnanimous about his colleagues. "In all the years I’ve worked here at CIPA and with all the contentious issues we’ve dealt with — I’ve never, ever heard one harsh word spoken at a faculty meeting. We may disagree, but it’s always civil and it leads to a positive outcome. There are not many chairs or deans I’m aware of who can say that!"
At the retirement reception, Thomas O’Toole, the executive director for professional development, announced that the CIPA student lounge would be renamed in Lewis’ honor.
attest, their fondest experiences with David Lewis, in retrospect of course, are of toiling frantically in huddled masses for long hours to complete a project for his quantitative or project planning courses. What many students and alumni don’t realize is that nothing brings David more satisfaction than seeing students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines working together to solve a common challenge," explained O’Toole. "To commemorate David’s commitment to the spirit of collegiality in the profession, the CIPA staff designates the CIPA lounge as 'The Lewis Student Center’ in his honor."
A plaque will be hung outside the Lewis Student Center to encourage future generations of CIPA Fellows to continue the legacy of Professor Lewis.