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John R. Lewis Scholarship

John R. Lewis Endowed Scholarship for Social Justice and Leadership

John R. Lewis

Former Congressman John LewisJohn Robert Lewis (February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020) was an American statesman and civil rights leader who served Georgia’s congressional 5th district in the United States House of Representatives for 17 terms (from 1987 until his death in 2020). Due to his years of service, Lewis was named dean of the Georgia congregational delegation, representing most of Atlanta.

As a social justice advocate and icon, in 1961, Lewis became one of the 13 original Freedom Riders (seven blacks and six whites) determined to ride from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans, Louisiana in an integrated fashion. As freedom rides, sit-ins and bus boycotts were being organized across the South, Lewis and others were met with threats and endured violence and imprisonment. He was one of the “Big Six” leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington to bring awareness to the fight for voting rights and racial equality. In 1965, Lewis led the march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. This march, otherwise known as “Bloody Sunday”, ignited the historical passing of the Voting Rights Act.

As a leader of the Democratic Party, Lewis served from 1991 as the Chief Deputy Whip and from 2003 as Senior Chief Deputy Whip within the House of Representatives. He introduced the legislation that led to the establishment of the Smithsonian’s African American Heritage Museum in Washington, D.C. In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded Mr. Lewis with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his lifelong commitment to the nation and the fight for civil rights.

As a lifelong adherent to non-violence philosophies, Mr. Lewis will be remembered for his belief that in the fight for social justice and equality, we must be willing to get into “good trouble, necessary trouble”.

The Scholarship will be awarded in a cash and tuition award of $10,000.

Eligibility and Criteria

This scholarship shall be awarded to an incoming student who demonstrates that they:

  1. Belong to one or more socially marginalized groups (i.e. ethnic/racial minority, member of the LGBTQIA+ community or have a documented disability). Candidates must have a commitment to social justice as demonstrated through their leadership, scholarship or service.
  2. Have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher
  3. Prepare and submit a personal essay, of no more than 500 words or less, describing your commitment to social justice. Your essay must describe how your commitment has been demonstrated through your leadership, scholarship or service.
  4. Applications may be submitted during the annual scholarship period via the Award Spring application portal.

Your application will be reviewed by a special committee, convened by the Office of the President and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

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Scholarships make it possible for deserving students to attend Life University and continue to be a source of need for the University. In fiscal year 2016, about 87% of students had federal loans.

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