Man from Essence

Prominent University of New Mexico alumnus Ed Lewis, one of the co-founders of Essence Communications, one of the country’s largest African American multi-media organizations, is coming home during the University’s Homecoming week. A number of events are planned on campus.

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, Lewis will participate in Meet the Author discussion and book-signing sponsored by the Honors College. The event will be held in the Honors Forum from 2 to 4 p.m.

Lewis will also give a presentation at the Anderson School of Management on Thursday, Sept. 25 from 8 - 9:15 a.m. The presentation, titled "Launching a New Business," will be held in ASM 1016 in the New Venture Strategies class. For more information, contact Stacy Sacco, (505) 489-2311.

The UNM Alumni Association hosts an open house and book-signing featuring Lewis on Thursday, Sept. 25 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Hodgin Hall. The reception will also feature Homecoming poster artist and UNM alumnus, William C. Hook, who has a new book featuring his works through time. The event will be held at Hodgin Hall. All alumni are invited.

As a mentor for a younger generation that shares his desire to create opportunities supporting the needs of entire communities, Lewis has spoken on entrepreneurship at several Ivy League universities, including Harvard, Stanford and Yale, as well as, at major companies such as Merrill Lynch, J.C. Penny, Kraft and Kellogg.  

During his 35 years as chairman, CEO and publisher, he nurtured Essence into a media powerhouse, addressing the needs of black women. This brand included the Essence Awards, a TV show celebrating the contributions of African Americans and the Essence Music Festival, a four-day event held in New Orleans during the Fourth of July, which attracts over 400,000 attendees annually.  He also radically changed the perception of Madison Avenue regarding black women and awakened corporate America to their achievements and massive multi-billion dollar purchasing power. Essence was acquired by Time, Inc. in 2005. 

Lewis took this success and applied it to his next venture, Latina Magazine, which he also co-founded. Latina is the first lifestyle magazine that exclusively addressed the interests of U.S. Hispanic women. He has served as chairman since 2008.

He is also a major supporter and advocate of civic responsibility and serves on a variety of boards ranging from the New York Academy of Medicine to Jazz at the Lincoln Center to Boys and Girls Club of America.

He received a Bachelor and Master of Arts from the UNM, where he later was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. A recipient of the Henry Johnson Fisher Award, considered the “Oscar” in publishing, he went on to receive the Henry Luce Award from Time, Inc. 

In 2014, Lewis was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame and received the inaugural IPPIES Lifetime Achievement Award from City University of New York’s Journalism School’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media.

For more information about Ed Lewis, contact Jennifer Kemp at the UNM Foundation, at (505) 277-0600. For information about Homecoming events, visit Homecoming 2014: Howl@125.