Houghton College inaugurated Dr. Wayne D. Lewis, Jr. as its sixth president and first African American president on Friday October 1, 2021.
Lewis, a native of News Orleans, succeeds Dr. Shirley Mullen who has led the college since 2006.
With 20 years of experience in education, Lewis will guide Houghton College’s ongoing mission to provide a high-quality Christian college education to students of all backgrounds through classroom locations in Houghton and Buffalo, N.Y., and online.
His previous experience includes, he served as the Commissioner of Education for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, overseeing an agency with over 1,100 employees and a $5 billion annual budget while also a faculty member at the University of Kentucky. He led the expansion of early postsecondary opportunities for high school students, launched Go Teach K to increase and diversify the public school teacher workforce, led doctoral programs delivered through hybrid and fully online formats, supervised over 10 successful doctoral dissertations and over 15 successful master’s and education specialist degree projects, and served as the founding faculty director of the University of Kentucky’s Black and Latino Male Student Success Initiative.
“Houghton College has been widely recognized and continually affirmed as one of the finest Christian colleges in the nation, but the best is yet to come. Houghton’s next chapter will be one of growth, wider reach and greater impact than the College has ever experienced. Daily, I see evidence of God’s hand on Houghton,” Lewis said in a statement. “Whether on the Allegany County residential campus, through our online programs, or in the heart of Buffalo, God is using Houghton College to bring about transformational change in the lives of our students and their families, and through the impact our students and graduates have in their communities, Western New York, and around the world.”
In a statement, the Houghton College Board of Trustees wrote… His career demonstrates his commitment to being a champion for students and focusing on improving educational access, opportunities and experiences for students, including those who have historically been underserved. This passion closely mirrors the mission of Houghton College’s founder, Willard J. Houghton, who recognized the critical intersection of a life-bringing Christian faith and high-quality education that could alter the trajectory of a person’s life.
“The complementary giftedness of Dr. Mullen and Dr. Lewis has been evident as I have had the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Lewis in his role as the 6th President in Houghton’s 138 year history. I have clearly seen why God brought Dr. Lewis to Houghton at this time and how his enthusiasm, energy, and new ideas will lead Houghton into the next chapter of its continuously unfolding and enduring mission of developing scholar-servants for a changing world” Board of Trustees Chair, John Lee, said.
The event was held at the John & Charles Wesley Chapel on campus and featured a performance by the Houghton College Choir and Chamber Ensemble, investiture ceremony and presentation of the presidential medallion and inaugural address by the new college president.
A nationally ranked Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences, the school prides itself as being “the best-priced Christian college in the nation”. The College offers more than 50 undergraduate in-person and online programs, including Equestrian Management, Data Science, Engineering and Christian Ministries, as well as graduate programs in business, education and music.