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Sherman Lewis School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences graphic
Published 10/28/2022

Langston University Office of Public Relations

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University alumnus Sherman Lewis, along with wife Berniece, announced a transformational gift to the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. The gift will bring new opportunities and resources to Langston University students interested in pursuing careers in Agriculture and related fields. The school will be renamed the Sherman Lewis School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences in recognition of the gift, the first named school in Langston University history. The renaming was approved by the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents at their meeting on Friday, October 21, 2022.

This announcement follows the largest individual donation in university history by Lewis. The funds will create the Sherman and Berniece Lewis Endowment, earmarked for the school and to support the achievements of our talented students. The Lewis family, stalwart supporters of Langston University, credit the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences with creating the foundation for their success.

“I’ve always felt a very strong sense of obligation to give back to Langston University for giving me so much when I needed it most to start my life’s journey,” said Lewis. “Langston University made an investment in me when I needed help and now, I want to make an investment in Langston University for the students its helping today and future ones to start their journey of life.”

Lewis has spent a lifetime championing the importance of agriculture in Oklahoma and beyond. Born and raised on a farm near Beggs, Oklahoma, Sherman Lewis enrolled in Langston University and earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics with a minor in mathematics in 1964. After two years in the military, Lewis joined the USDA Soil Conservation Service, now the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He would go on to obtain his master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Lewis would soon return to Langston University to direct the Center for Outreach Programs, where he focused on recruiting students, providing technical assistance to producers and minority-owned businesses, and developing partnerships with federal and state agencies to secure scholarships, internships, and career opportunities for students. He was in this role for eight years.

Upon his departure from Langston University as Director of Outreach Programs, Lewis decided to venture into the private sector. He and his family started several different lines of businesses in Houston, Texas. Including, quick service restaurants, construction project management, real estate, wholesale and retail gas distribution and a Mexican restaurant in downtown Houston.

“Langston University is indebted to the Lewis family for their stewardship and support over many years,” said Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr., President of Langston University. “The Sherman Lewis School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences will be a place for our students to learn and grow with opportunities for cutting-edge research and instruction from our incredible faculty. We are proud to rename the school to honor this great alumnus.”

Lewis was awarded the Heart of the Lion Award in 2014 and received the 1890 Career Exemplar Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities in 2015. Prior to this announcement, the Lewis family had already given the largest donation of any living alumnus. Their generosity continues through the established Sherman Lewis Fund, which provides scholarships that fully fund tuition and school supplies for gifted LU-SAAS students.

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