The has announced that Earl Lewis will step down as president in March 2018 at the completion of his five-year term.
Lewis plans to launch a new initiative, the Center for Social Solutions, which will focus on three core areas — race and diversity, water, and the future of work. Since taking the helm in March 2013, Lewis spearheaded implementation of the foundation's first strategic plan, reshaped key program areas, expanded the number and types of grantees supported, and launched significant initiatives including the Mellon Research Forum and the Our Compelling Interests book series and initiative focused on diversity and social connectedness. The latter, which Lewis will continue to co-lead with Nancy Cantor, will anchor the work of the new center with the support of the foundation.
Prior to becoming president of the foundation, Lewis served on its board while also serving as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of History and African American Studies at . A noted social historian, a fellow of the , and author or editor of several books, Lewis has championed the importance of diversifying the academy, enhancing graduate education, re-visioning the liberal arts, exploring the role of digital tools for learning, and connecting universities to their communities. He also was elected to the board in 2015.