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Professor Edith (Edie) Lewis of the University of Michigan School of Social Work and Department of Women's Studies centered her research and teaching on social justice concerns since arriving at UM in 1985. (Since winning the award, she has retired from the UM.) Her primary research interests included methods used by women of color to offset personal, familial, community, and professional role strain. Lewis also worked extensively in Ghana on women’s successful economic development strategies.
Lewis’s strategies for approaching advocacy and problem solving for oppressed groups have become part of the required training for MSW students. Outside of the classroom, she has actively fostered a sense of community for generations of women of color faculty, staff and students campus-wide, through her personal support, mentorship, and her role in establishing the Women of Color in the Academy Project.
Catherine Lilly is the Senior Advisor to Tim Slottow, the UM Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. She has devoted her career to promoting diversity and inclusion and to developing leadership and organizational effectiveness among University employees. Among Lilly’s accomplishments are directing the Business and Finance Leadership Academy, leading UM Diversity Community Conferences in 2009 and 2010, leading the Business and Finance Diversity Committee, helping launch the Business and Finance Diversity Passport, and implementing the Business and Finance Diversity Plan. In addition, she is an active member of a UM labor-management partnership that strives to reduce conflict and grievances by addressing issues proactively.
Lilly was also instrumental in the creation of the New Millennium Leaders Series (now the CEW Advanced Leadership Program) and VOICES of the Staff. Trained as a social worker, Lilly has a long record as an organizational development consultant within and beyond the University.