R. B. and Margaret Lewis Endowed Presidential Fellowship in Biochemistry
The R. B. and Margaret Lewis Endowed Presidential Fellowship in Biochemistry was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on December 20, 2001, for the benefit of the College of Natural Sciences. Gift funds were provided by Mrs. Margaret S. Lewis of Austin, Texas, a 1948 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin College of Natural Sciences and Mr. R. B. Lewis of Austin, Texas, a 1941 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business
R.B. and Margaret Lewis were role models to their son and daughter, Dr. Edward Lewis and Mrs. Carolyn Gallagher, teaching them the value of education and the importance of service to others. They were both generous philanthropists who gave to many causes, including education and inspired their children to continue that important legacy.
Margaret Lewis earned a masters degree in biochemistry from The University of Texas in 1948 and was part of the team that helped isolate Vitamin B12 under Dr. Billy Shive. After marring R.B Lewis, Margaret became a full-time mother and homemaker but spent her life helping others through volunteer work. Her son followed her into the sciences, becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
When Margaret attended graduate school in biochemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, her best friend and roommate, Jessie Ternberg, wanted to go to medical school. This was in the late 1940’s when very few women were in the sciences, much less doctors. Margaret sold her car to pay for her friend’s medical education. Jessie went on to become a world-renowned pediatric surgeon and the first woman head of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine.
R.B. Lewis was a successful entrepreneur, starting his own mortgage banking and insurance business after returning from World War II. He inspired his daughter to want to run her own business. Carolyn attended business school and after a few years in the corporate world came back to Austin and bought a company, Texwood Furniture.
R.B. and Margaret Lewis were unpretentious and down to earth people who typified the members of the “Greatest Generation.” They grew up in the Depression and R.B served his country as a Naval Officer during World War II. After the war, they both worked hard and focused on raising a family. After their children were grown they gave their time and resources to the community. Both lived their lives thankful for all they had been given and committed themselves to give back to the community.
R.B and Margaret funded three endowments at the University because they believed so strongly in the value of a good education. They funded the R.B. and Margaret Lewis Endowment in Biochemistry to honor Margaret’s study in the field, the Edward Sibley Lewis, M.D. Endowed Presidential Pre-Med Scholarship to honor their son’s profession as a physician, and the Carolyn Lewis Gallagher Endowed Presidential Fellowship in Business to honor their daughter’s business career.
R.B and Margaret Lewis wanted to ensure that others had the same educational opportunities they and their children were able to have.