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Donna M. Lewis, BA'87, recently doubled her support of Men's Basketball. Pictured (l-r) is President freeland, Lewis , Donald Wright, then executive director of the Reggie Lewis Foundation, and Donna Wright at the first Leadership Dinner.

Family and Foundation of Reggie Lewis Support Men's Hoops

Enjoying back to back winning seasons, the men's basketball program can thank, in part, Donna M. Lewis, BA'87, for their success. The widow of Celtic legend Reggie Lewis, Sr., CJ'94, Hon.'94, has increased her generous support of the team from $50,000 to $100,000 through the Leadership Campaign.

"Northeastern is like family, so it was not very hard for me to give back. It's the right thing to do."

Lewis made the gift to ensure the team's long-term competitive edge, by supporting player development, upgrade of training facilities, and enhanced recruitment efforts. Lewis says that her late husband, who she first met on campus in 1983, would have done the same.

"Alumni should use their degrees not just to benefit themselves, but also Northeastern and the community at large," says Lewis, echoing her June 1994 commencement address to Northeastern graduates at the Boston Garden.

"I am all about Northeastern, and to be able to support today's basketball team is something I find rewarding."

Lewis, BA'87, once oversaw the Reggie Lewis Foundation, Inc., founded in 1993 to improve the quality of life for underprivileged children and adults. She and the foundation gave an additional $100,000 to support other programs at Northeastern, including the Reggie Lewis Technology Center at the John D. O'Bryant African-American Institute, the Varsity Club, the Center for the Study of Sport in Science, and men's and women's track.

Helping today's student-athletes, as others did for her late husband as a student, is a priority for Lewis. She recalls how teammate Perry Moss, AS '92, took Reggie under his wing to help hone his skills and how former coach Keith Motley, Ed '78, helped him to succeed on and off the court.

"Northeastern is like family, so it was not very hard for me to give back. It's the right thing to do," says Lewis, who hopes her children, Reggie, Jr. and Reggiena, will attend Northeastern one day. Reggie Jr. is already 5'11 at just 12-years-old, and enjoys playing basketball and baseball.

Reggie Lewis, Sr., rewrote the Northeastern basketball record books. The four year starter led the Huskies to four consecutive North Atlantic Conference championships and four straight National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament appearances. He became a National Basketball Association standout and Celtic captain before dying from a heart ailment in 1993. Both the Celtics and Huskies retired his number, 35.


John D. O'Bryant African-American Institute
  This article appeared in the Spring 2005 issue of Pathways: The Leadership Campaign.          

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