Two students from each of the University of Louisiana System’s nine member institutions were introduced as the second cohort of Reginald F. Lewis Scholars during a pinning ceremony at the University of Louisiana at Monroe as part of the annual Universities of Louisiana Black Male Summit. The Reginald F. Lewis Scholars provides a three-year curated educational experience focused on three key areas—academics, social advancement and community service.

“Before you today stands the second cohort of Reginald F. Lewis Scholars. In reality, you were just introduced to the next generation of leaders in Louisiana and beyond,” UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson said. “These 18 young men join the first cohort ready to develop into better students, more engaged community members, and culturally aware citizens equipped for life and career success.”

Scholars were ceremoniously pinned by University of Louisiana System Board Chair Liz Pierre, former Board Chair James Carter, and System President and CEO Jim Henderson.

“The investment from our community partners, not only financially but through mentoring and internship opportunities, has reaffirmed the need for the Reginald F. Lewis Scholars Program,” UL System VP for Advancement Claire Norris said. “We’ve seen significant growth in just the first year making our hopes even higher than we originally dreamed for these Scholars.”

Eighteen rising sophomores are chosen for the program based on academic merit, financial need and demonstrated leadership skills. The Reginald F. Lewis Scholars experience is tri-fold. In addition to a full tuition scholarship, cohorts will participate in the community experience which includes a partnership with the Universities of Louisiana Management & Leadership Institute and a service learning project; the social experience which includes an annual focused retreat and academic, social and professional mentorship from business, community and university leaders; and the academic experience which includes research projects and a study abroad opportunity in their junior year. Cohort one is traveling to France in April 2023. The Reginald F. Lewis Scholars Program is at no cost to the student participant and made possible through generous support from individuals and community partners.

In addition to the new Scholars, outstanding members from the Universities of Louisiana community including a Scholar from cohort one were recognized during the Summit.

James Cailler Servant Leader Award
Ruben Henderson, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Sam Speed, Louisiana Tech University

James Caillier Innovation and Inclusion Award
Krisshunn Youngblood, McNeese State University
Devonia Love-Vaughn, Louisiana Tech University

James Carter Exemplary Leadership Award
Ebenezer Aggrey, Reginald F. Lewis Scholar cohort one, Northwestern State University

Reginald F. Lewis Scholars

Grambling State University
Korde’ Cortez, Arcadia, La., Social Work
Kamerius Travon Palmer, Jonesboro, La., Education

Louisiana Tech University
Brandon Terrance, Baton Rouge, La., Mechanical Engineering
Joseph Johnson, Shreveport, La., Electrical Engineering

McNeese State University
Cadenley Francois, Gonaives, Haiti, Nursing
Chima Owunna, Anambra, Nigeria, Computer Engineering

Nicholls State University
Deon Charles, Raceland, La., Allied Health Sciences
Charleston Rainey, Thibodaux, La., Safety Management

Northwestern State University
Jairus Killings, Syracuse, N.Y., Musical Theater
Caiden Matthews, Shreveport, La., Computer Information Systems

Southeastern Louisiana University
Nicholas Gibson, Addis, La., Engineering Technology
Joshua Randall, New Orleans, La., Communications

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Frank Clavelle, Luling, La., Architectural Studies
Isaiah Crawford, New Orleans, La., Kinesiology

University of Louisiana Monroe
Braxton Jackson, Monroe, La., Political Science
Eric Lair Jr., Marksville, La., Social Work,

University of New Orleans
Brandon Everett, Slidell, La., International Studies
Brandon “Blue” Irvin, New Orleans, La., Chemistry

Reginald F. Lewis was one of the wealthiest black men during the 1980s. Mr. Lewis was the first black man to build a billion-dollar empire, and the first African American to close an overseas leveraged buyout deal. His commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, particularly for African American youth and young black males, is the inspiration for the Reginald F. Lewis Scholars.