June 2, 2022
Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye announces the sudden passing of Atty. Browne C. Lewis, dean of the North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law. Dean Lewis was attending a conference in Colorado with colleagues at the time of her untimely death Thursday, June 2, 2022.
An accomplished legal scholar, attorney and author, Lewis joined the Eagle family July 1, 2020, and immediately made an indelible impact on the School of Law. Her vision was clear from Day One in leading the school as one that provides unique opportunities for diverse, talented future attorneys to be practice-ready practitioners in their chosen legal careers.
She accumulated numerous accomplishments for the university and School in Law in her short, nearly two years at its helm. She began laser focused on reaccreditation with the American Bar Association (ABA), which was approved in full compliance with the ABA Standards in November 2020. Equally important, enrollment has consistently increased year-over-year at a time when other law schools saw steady decreases. Additionally, bar passage rates have been above average.
Under her leadership, the School of Law received a number of gifts from corporations and foundations and prestigious law internships and fellowships have been awarded to students. This includes a transformational $5 million contribution from Intel Corporation that created the NCCU-Intel Tech Law and Policy Center—the first at an HBCU and the only tech and law policy center that focuses on technology disparities and social justice.
Lewis was extremely passionate about social justice and its intersection with law. I encourage you to read an interview with her that was published by Attorney at Law Magazine in March 2022. In it, Dean Lewis shared, “The key value I want to imprint on the law school is overcoming the impossible through hard work, perseverance, and tenacity. It is important to overcome adversity and realize that you can accomplish any goal even if you do it in bite-sized pieces. I’m one of 12 children from a family in a small country town in Louisiana. I grew up knowing that you have to persevere, overcome adversity, and keep pushing forward. Likewise, NCCU School of Law is one of only six HBCU law schools in the country. We’re the underdog pushing forward.”
A celebration of life ceremony will be Tuesday, June 21 at St. Joseph AME Church, 2521 Fayetteville St., Durham, NC, 27707. The viewing will begin at 11 a.m., followed by her funeral service at 1 p.m.
An additional ceremony will be Monday, June 27at Restoration Apostolic Ministries, 175 Fairgrounds Road, Natchitoches. The viewing begins at noon and the service will commence at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family of Dean Lewis requests that donations be made in her name to the following causes which were dear to her: the NCCU School of Law Social Justice Racial Equity Institute (SJREI) and Grambling University Scholarship Fund.