Since the fall of 1968 Michael “Mick” Lewis has taught at Eastern in the history department. After this semester he and a few of his longtime colleagues will retire. Lewis has had the opportunity of teaching in six different departments, including history, government, philosophy, geography, humanities and in the Honors Program.
His passion is Middle Eastern studies and Islam. During his 35 years of experience he has been a part of many things and has traveled to 42 countries.
Lewis grew up in Gary, Ind., where he worked in the steel mills. He said there he discovered every person had a philosophy to life. His experiences with hard work in the steel mills paved the road for his future success at Eastern.
Lewis said working with his students is what he will miss the most about teaching.
“I can still remember the names of some of my original students in ’68,” Lewis said.
He has tried to express to his students the importance of broadening their lives.
“Students shouldn’t limit their world because the world is full of possibilities,” Lewis said.
Lewis’ wife Claudia, who teaches at Model, will retire as well. He says they plan to travel a lot and will be spending a month this summer in Ireland.
Lewis said he feels somewhat reluctant about retiring.
“I’m not sure that I want to leave, but I’m at least taking a year off definitely,” Lewis said.
One of what Lewis called his proudest achievements occurred during the ’69-’70 school year. During this time the civil rights movement was sweeping the country. When Lewis first came to Eastern, the university had no black faculty members, and Lewis became the first sponsor of the Black Student Union on Eastern’s campus.
He has also received recognition by the Student Government Association for excellence in teaching.
Lewis said he greatly appreciates his time at Eastern. He said his love for the students has made work seem effortless.