Family of the Year: The Lewis Family
The Lewis family's ties to Lincoln University date back nearly a century, from Pearley Poindexter in 1923 to his great-granddaughter Ja'Nae Wright's graduation in 2020.
"We bleed blue," says Wright's mother Joanna Lewis, who graduated from Lincoln in 1995 with a degree in computer information systems and today works as a senior analyst for American Water. Lewis's sister, Dr. Pamela Trotter, graduated from Lincoln in 1992 with a psychology degree and today is a professor at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. Wright graduated with a degree in social work and is now a compliance inspector with the state of Missouri.
Lincoln ties may run in the family, but Lewis says it was always a personal choice to attend the university. When taking her daughter for her first visit to Lincoln, Lewis saw her fall in love with the passion of the students and Lincoln's profound history. "LU won her over, hands down," she says.
The vice president of the Greater St. Louis Lincoln University Alumni Association chapter, Lewis is passionate about Lincoln and taking care of its students through scholarship fundraising. Known for watching out for students who may not have a strong family support network or who may be struggling financially, Lewis often sends care packages to those in need.
"I want to make sure students can focus on school," she says. "If I can take off one concern that a student has, then I'll do that."
For her, Lincoln University has always meant family.
"Once we graduate, the work at Lincoln shouldn't stop," Lewis says. "Those who founded Lincoln University made sure we had an education. We must do the same for others. I recommitted myself to Lincoln because it's meant more than an education to me. The life skills we gained, our experiences, friendships, the Lincoln family support, we don't hear friends who went to other schools talk about this. Lincoln changed my life, and I see it now changing my daughter's life."