Philip E. Lewis

Vice President, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Philip Lewis is vice president of the Mellon Foundation and professor emeritus at Cornell University.

A graduate of Davidson College (1964), Lewis received a Ph.D. in French literature from Yale (1969), where he was a Woodrow Wilson fellow and a Danforth fellow. He joined the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell in 1968 and served as its chair from 1974 to 1980. As a scholar, he has published on various aspects of 17th-century French literature, including books on La Rochefoucauld (The Art of Abstraction, 1977) and Charles Perrault (Reading through the Mother Goose Tales, 1996); as a member of the Board of Editors of A New History of French Literature (1989), he was responsible for sections on the baroque and neo-classicism. He has also published essays on contemporary criticism and on American higher education.

Lewis has held fellowships from the Cornell Society for the Humanities, the Camargo Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. From 1976 to 1987 he served as editor of Diacritics, a journal of literary criticism based at Cornell, and from July 2004 until his retirement from Cornell in January 2007, he was director of the university’s Program in French Studies. From 1993 to 1996, he served on the Modern Language Association’s Special Committee on the Future of the Print Record.

Lewis joined the administration of Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences as a senior associate dean in 1989. As dean of Arts and Sciences from 1995 until 2003, he advocated for reinforcing the college’s commitment to liberal education.

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