Virginia E. Lewis is remembered for her passionate belief in the political process, for introducing “Fieldwork in Politics,” a hands-on course she first offered her students in 1958, long before most colleges awarded credit for experiential learning, and for starting the Law and Society program at Hood College. She was a formidable scholar with an sharp wit that could both inspire and intimidate her students. Dr. Lewis, who taught generations of students to take an active role in the election campaigns of both parties, is also remembered for telling her students to “vote early and often.”
In her baccalaureate address to the Class of 1984, Dr. Lewis said, “Successful government, if it is to endure, must rest on a foundation of democratic citizenship and an active sense of personal responsibility. A good citizen is an active citizen.”
An astute political analyst, Dr. Lewis advised dozens of leaders in Maryland and the nation. Politically active, she invited John F. Kennedy to visit the campus during the 1960 primary campaign, and Edmund G. Brown Jr. in 1976, events that brought hundreds of visitors to the Hood campus. She was an advisor to Maryland’s U.S. Senators, Paul S. Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski. She served on a number of panels, including the Governor’s Commission of the Status of Women, the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 6th Judicial District, and the Advisory Commission for the Women’s Political Campaign Fund.
Born in Memphis, Tenn., Dr. Lewis was a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. She received a law degree from George Washington University in 1948 and her doctorate from New York University in 1955. A former lawyer with the U.S. Treasury Department, she joined the Hood faculty in 1947.
The Giles Chair in Education was established in 1987 to recognize Hood’s outstanding role in educating teachers since the College’s founding in 1893.
Throughout the College’s history, thousands of graduates have entered the teaching profession, including elementary, childhood education, secondary education, and special education. Two major areas of study are offered at the graduate level, curriculum and instruction, and educational leadership.