Two Southeastern students among second class of R.F. Lewis Scholars


Monday, June 20, 2022
by: Tonya Lowentritt 

Nicholas Gibson Joshua Randall
Nicholas Gibson Joshua Randall

     HAMMOND - The University of Louisiana System launched a program last year to enhance the educational experiences of exemplary Black male students. Two students from each of the system’s nine-member institutions, including Southeastern Louisiana University, are participating in the second cohort of the R.F. Lewis Scholars program, a three-year initiative that focuses on academics, social advancement and community service.
     The 18 program participants are rising sophomores who were chosen based on academic merit, financial need and leadership skills. Nicholas Gibson and Joshua Randall will represent Southeastern this year. Gibson, the son of Chaneka Yates and Eddie Gibson, is an engineering technology major from Addis, while Randall, the son of Tonya Randall and Samuel Gabriel, is a communications major from New Orleans.
     “I am grateful to be chosen for this program and scholarship opportunity,” Gibson said. “It shows me that putting time and dedication into what you do in college pays off and gives you the opportunity to socialize with new people and gain important connections.”
     Randall also values his experience as a scholar, but for different reasons than Gibson.
     “It is a blessing. The opportunity to meet new people, but to also help my mom out financially with my school is a major help to me,” Randall said. “I have been waiting for this to happen to me like a movie, and now it’s reality.”
     Southeastern Dean of Students Gabe Willis said Dylan James and Demille Davis were Southeastern’s first R.F. Lewis Scholars.
     “Both students have benefited greatly from the program and are progressing well at Southeastern,” he said.
The second group of Reginald F. Lewis Scholars were pinned during a ceremony, held at the University of Louisiana Monroe, that was the culmination of a two-day Black Male Summit that sought to identify solutions for systematic barriers and new opportunities for Black male faculty, staff and students in the UL System. UL System Board Chair Liz Pierre, former board chair James Carter and UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson pinned the recipients.
     “In just a minute, you’re going to follow the footsteps of those who came before you and then you’re going to get a pin put in your lapel,” Henderson said during the ceremony. “A pin that says the word ‘scholar’ underneath the logo you’re used to seeing. You’re joining a brotherhood whose history is just now being written. But 20 years from now, when one of you is standing on this stage as UL System president, you’ll be able to shake hands with the 20th cohort of the Reginald F. Lewis Scholars.”
     R.F. Lewis Scholars receive a full tuition scholarship. In addition, cohorts will engage in three key areas:
     • the community experience, which includes a partnership with the Universities of Louisiana Management and Leadership Institute and a service learning project;
     • the social experience, which includes an annual retreat, and academic and professional mentorship from business, community and university leaders; and
     • the academic experience, which includes research projects and a study abroad opportunity during junior year.

More News...