Lewis History Timeline

 1930's

1931

February 9. Groundbreaking ceremony for what will become Lewis University.
July. German Franciscan Brothers come to campus: Brothers Lewis, Hildolph and Fabian.

1932

May 30. Official dedication and blessing ceremony of Holy Name Technical School, a four year
high school focused on technical studies for young men.

1934

October 2. Official incorporation as a non-profit institution; renamed the Lewis Holy Name Technical School to honor Frank J. Lewis for his dedication and support.

1935

January 2. School reorganized as a non-profit corporation; name changed to Lewis Holy Name School of Aeronautics.

1936

Enrollment reaches 120 students; school occupies 620 acres.


 1940's

1942

The Lewis campus is closed as the U. S. Navy trains flight instructors on campus.

1944

After the Navy left campus, Lewis reopens as a junior college.

1946

Name changed to Lewis College of Science and Technology.

1948

Football program begins at Lewis, thanks to the efforts of Father John Brennan.
Enrollment reaches 240 students.

1949

WFJL radio station owned by Lewis begins broadcasting in Chicago. Admiral Herbert J. Grassie, USN (Ret.) becomes Chancellor and then the first lay President of Lewis.


 1950's

1951

First women enrolled.

1952

First liberal arts degrees awarded. Legendary coach, teacher and athletic director Gordie Gillespie is named head coach of the new baseball team.

1954

Sancta Alberta Chapel opens, becoming a landmark and spiritual core of campus. Alumni Association established.

1955

Brig.Gen. Paul X. English, U.S. Army (Ret.) succeeds Adm. Grassie as president. Alumni Association establishes the Father Aquinas Award. Jack Azman is the first recipient.

1956

Lettermen’s Club builds the Grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Stritch Hall is constructed.


 1960's

1960

Christian Brothers assume sponsorship of Lewis. Brother Leander Paul McGinnis, FSC, becomes the first Brother President.

1962

Name changed to Lewis College.

1964

Lewis adopts “Bed Check Charlie”as official mascot after receiving permission from cartoonist Milt Caniff. Science Wing of Academic/Science Building completed. Construction of many new buildings on campus in this decade.

1967
Brother Paul French, FSC, is appointed second Brother President.

Late 1960s

Merger is considered with the College of St. Francis, now University of St. Francis.

1969

Black Student Union is founded.


 1970's

1971

College of Nursing established.

1973

July 2. Incorporated as Lewis University.

1975

Lewis College of Law established in Glen Ellyn.

1978

The Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) degree program is launched.


 1980's

1980-91

The Niego family becomes a basketball dynasty with four players on the men’s basketball team and three on the women’s.

1982

Brother David Delahanty, FSC, inaugurated as President.

1984

Lewis presents an honorary degree to President Ronald Reagan. The Arts & Ideas series is launched.

1988

October 2. Brother James Gaffney, FSC, inaugurated as President. Major construction and renovation program underway at Lewis.


 1990's

1990

Lewis men’s baseball, coached by Irish O’Reilly, takes third place in the NCAA Division II National Championships. LUCEP established to offer accelerated undergraduate degree completion for adult learners.

1991

Lewis receives a gift of $2 million from Harold E. White to facilitate construction of a new Aviation Center.

1992

Les Stoklosa wins the first ever individual NCAA national championship for Lewis University, taking first place in the 5,000 meter steeplechase.

1994

April 7. Revised Mission Statement is adopted, celebrating the values of Knowledge, Wisdom, Fidelity, Justice and Association.

1995

A new logo is adapted, incorporating the Sancta Alberta Chapel bell tower.

1997

The Scholars Academy is established on campus.

1999

Lewis accepts donation of a Boeing 737 aircraft from United Airlines. First Signum Fidei Celebration to benefit need-based scholarships for Lewis students. First online master’s degree in nursing case management offered.


 2000's

2000

Lewis acquires the historic Fitzpatrick House. WLRA becomes the first fully digital college radio station in the country. School of Education becomes accredited by NCATE.

2002

Tinley Park Regional Location opened.

2003

The School of Education became the College of Education.

2005

Pope John Paul II residence hall opens. Lewis establishes first doctoral program, an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership for Teaching and Learning.

2006

Mother Teresa residence hall opened. Athletic Training Education program accredited by CAATE. Andrew Center for Electronic Media opened.

2007

Lewis selected by the FAA to offer the only ATC-CTI approved program in Illinois for Air Traffic Controllers.

2009

College of Nursing and Health Sciences acquires new simulation labs and hospital-like setting. Social Work program receives initial accreditation from CSWE.


 2010's

2010

Albuquerque, N.M. Location opened.

2011

A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree approved by the Lewis Board of Trustees. Lewis opened new Athletic Complex, track and field.

2012

$20 million, 50,000 sq. ft.  LEED-certified Science Center addition and renovation opens in January for growing enrollment in the sciences and related majors.

2014

St. Charles Borromeo transformed for the College of Business. College of Nursing and Health Professions opens an addition of 25,000 sq. ft.

2015

Brother James Gaffney, FSC, named Honorary Founder. Christian Brothers bench donated. Veterans Plaza dedicated.

2016

Dr. David J. Livingston named tenth President. Brother James Gaffney, FSC, designated President Emeritus. Aviation Building named after Brother Neil Kieffe, FSC.

2018

Brother James Gaffney, FSC, Student Center opened.

2019

Restructure of the academic Colleges takes effect:

  • College of Aviation, Science and Technology
  • College of Business
  • College of Education and Social Sciences
  • College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communications
  • College of Nursing and Health Sciences