SisterMentors Founder to Speak at 177th Commencement

Shireen Lewis

Shireen K. Lewis, who has devoted more than 20 years to mentoring and coaching women and girls, will be the guest speaker at Hollins University’s 177th Commencement Exercises.

The ceremony takes place on Sunday, May 26, at 10 a.m. on the school’s historic Front Quadrangle.

Lewis is executive director of EduSeed, which promotes education in historically disadvantaged and underserved communities, and founder of EduSeed’s SisterMentors program, which supports learning among women and girls of color.

Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Lewis double-majored in French and Spanish at Douglass College, a women’s college at Rutgers University, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and awarded the Moliére Prize from the French government for outstanding achievement in French. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in French literature from Duke University and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Upon her graduation from law school, Lewis received the Herbert L. Kramer Public Service Award from the faculty at UVa Law. Subsequently, she was a litigator with a New York City law firm and a Legal Aid volunteer in Durham, North Carolina. She was honored by the National Association of Women Lawyers for her work on behalf of women law students.

With a focus on Francophone West African and Caribbean literature, Lewis has taught at several universities and has presented her scholarship in both the United States and abroad. She is past co-president of the Washington, D.C., branch of the American Association of University Women.

Lewis has helped raise funds for a teenage pregnancy program at a high school in her hometown of Fyzabad, Trinidad, and for the first school in a village in Tibet that has the unprecedented requirement that 50 percent of its students must be girls. She has also served on the boards of several community organizations in the U.S. that promote education and equity for women and girls.

More information about this year’s commencement can be found here.