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RABBI ALBERT LEWIS AND DR. SHIRLEY LEWIS TO RECEIVE THE PRESTIGOUS AQUINAS EMERITUS AWARD

April 17, 2009 - Rabbi Albert Micah Lewis and Dr. Shirley Kane Lewis have, through their dedication to faith, education, diversity and service, become an integral part of the fabric of the West Michigan community. Their many contributions over the years make them fitting candidates for the prestigious Aquinas Emeritus Award.

On Thursday, May 14 at the 26th Aquinas Emeritus Evening, Rabbi Albert Lewis and Dr. Shirley Lewis will receive the Aquinas Emeritus Award in recognition of all they have given over many years to the West Michigan area and beyond. The evening will begin with cocktails and dinner at 6 p.m. in the Wege Student Center at 1607 Robinson Road SE. Tickets for the event are $150 per person and reservations are due by Wednesday, May 6 and can be made by contacting harbuell@aquinas.edu. The evening is sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Aquinas College.

Rabbi Albert Micah Lewis and Dr. Shirley Kane Lewis have, through their dedication to faith, education, diversity and service, become an integral part of the fabric of the West Michigan community. Their many contributions over the years make them fitting candidates for the Aquinas Emeritus Award.

Rabbi Albert Lewis is the Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Emanuel in Grand Rapids and the Rabbi of Congregation Beth El in Traverse City, Michigan. He is also the past Director of the Aquinas Emeritus College (now OLLI at Aquinas), adjunct professor of Psychology and Gerontology at Aquinas College and the founding president of Hospice of Greater Grand Rapids (now Hospice of West Michigan). Due to his expertise in issues of aging, Rabbi Lewis has served as a consultant to Amway, Herman Miller Corporation, Spectrum Health and Steelcase. In addition, he has been an active member of the Greater Grand Rapids transit millage and the Senior Adult millage. Al is a recipient of the Monsignor Hugh Michael Beahan Faith in Humanity Award, and together with Shirley, the Aquinas College Trustee Award. His rabbinic career has been built on interfaith understanding and dialogue and his weekly columns in The Grand Rapids Press are now finding their way across the country.

Dr. Shirley Lewis is the former Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Chairperson of the Psychology Department, Professor of Education and Professor Emerita-in-the-College at Aquinas College. Among her many contributions to Aquinas, she led the effort to bring the University of Detroit Nursing program to Aquinas and developed the liberal arts curriculum for the nursing program.

Dr. Lewis has been recognized twice with the Aquinas College Outstanding Faculty Award, and the Aquinas Outstanding Service Award, as well as the Aquinas College Trustee Award. Since her retirement, she has served as the Curriculum Director for Bet Sefer B'Yachad, the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids Religious School. Shirley is also past president of the West Michigan Society for Gerontology, a member of the American Diabetes Association, and has served on the boards of the Children’s Assessment Center and the YWCA. Shirley has published poetry and scholarly articles, including a chapter in Befriending Life: The Friends of Henri Nouwen. She is a talented musician, having served as cantor at Temple Emanuel for over 20 years, and a gifted teacher and one of OLLI’s favorite instructors.

Both Al and Shirley Lewis followed careers focused on empowering others through teaching. Their personal relationship with the late Father Henri Nouwen led to their becoming an integral part of the L'Arche Daybreak Community in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and had a profound influence on their lives and professions. Al and Shirley seek shebbing nachas (experiencing great joy) in every moment.