SPRINGFIELD – Brandon Lewis, a second year student and student trustee at Lincoln Land Community College, was honored Saturday, Nov. 12, as a Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate, representing the entire Illinois Community College System.
Governor Bruce Rauner presented Lewis with a Student Laureate Medallion and certificate of achievement at the annual Student Laureate Convocation at the Old State Capitol. Lewis also receives a $1,000 educational grant.
The Lincoln Academy’s Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Awards recognize excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities and are awarded to seniors from each of the state’s four-year colleges and universities, and one student from community colleges in Illinois.
“Brandon Lewis has overcome adversity in his life and taken advantage of the opportunities to lead and excel at Lincoln Land Community College,” said Craig Findley, chair of the LLCC Board of Trustees. “He is a role model and inspiration to his fellow students with his dedication to serving his college and community. We are extremely proud of Brandon and his accomplishments.”
“Each year the Illinois Community College Board receives many impressive nominations to represent the Illinois Community College System as our Student Laureate,” said Karen Hunter Anderson, Ph.D., executive director of the Illinois Community College Board. “Congratulations to Lincoln Land Community College and to Brandon Lewis for his extraordinary leadership abilities. He will be an outstanding representative for the Illinois Community College System as our 2016 Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate because he displays the commitment to community and society that we cultivate in the students within our system.”
Lewis is involved in numerous leadership roles at LLCC as well as extensive community service. At LLCC, in addition to representing all students on the college’s governing Board of Trustees, he serves as a Student Government Association (SGA) representative, on the SGA Student Activity Fund Advisory Committee, president of the Psychology Club, vice president of Student United Way and Ronald McDonald House volunteer, vice president of Black Student Union, New Student Orientation leader, and student worker in the LLCC Student Life Office and previously in the Advising, Counseling and Career Services Office. Additionally, Lewis has served as a student speaker at the New Student Welcome Lunch and at Campus Visit Day.
He volunteers at St. Martin de Porres Center, Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity ReStore and participates in Springfield Southeast High School community town hall meetings. He also served on the grant proposal team to establish LLCC’s Open Door program, funded through the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce Q5 initiative. The Open Door program provides personal and professional development for men of color and connects program participants with mentors and internships in local businesses and organizations. Since the program’s implementation, Lewis serves as student representative on its leadership and planning team.
“I have lived in Springfield for the past five years; this time has been the most beneficial and self-fulfilling years of my life,” said Lewis. “College was an enormous step for me. As a first-generation college student, growing up in poverty, having a poor history in education and a minority male, statistics indicate I should have quit a long time ago. Yet, not once has that cancerous thought crossed my mind. I have overcome obstacles and am in a position I would have never imagined.”
Following graduation from LLCC, Lewis plans to transfer to Arizona State University, majoring in business administration, and later to Howard University in Washington, D.C. to earn an M.B.A.