Tributes

In Memoriam:

Glenda Lewis
4/1/1967-3/28/2021

Beloved Friend, Scholar and Lobo


A message from GPSA and PNMGC

Dear UNM students,glenda

It is with great sadness that we inform you of a terrible loss for UNM. 

Glenda Lewis, former GPSA President (2016-2017), has passed away after a short fight with an illness. She was an exceptional individual who brought her unique personality, passion and happiness wherever she went. Glenda was writing her dissertation in Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies and we know her work and her loss will have a lasting impact on campus. During her time at UNM, Glenda touched many lives through her dedication for the student community and professional work. She served as the Lead Project Assistant for Project of New Mexico Graduates of Color (PNMGC) and was an active contributor as well as the President of Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGPSA). Glendawas also involved in numerous student initiatives and was always eager to advance the interests of the student community. She was a DJ at KUNM and was known as "The Joyful Girl"! We believe everyone who met her has been touched by her amiable attitude.

There is a memorial site for Glenda Lewis in the Student Union Building Atrium outside of the GPSA office. People may share any thoughts and words on the board provided at the site. The site will be up until next Wednesday, April 7th. The SUB is open Monday through Friday from 9am – 5pm. To continue to honor Glenda, GPSA is instituting that one of our annual awards now be titled the 'Glenda Lewis Award for Excellence in Community Engagement and Advocacy'. GPSA is also working on a virtual memorial with more details to come. Glenda will be forever in our thoughts.

Sincere Regards, 

GPSA and PNMGC


Additional Statements Regarding the Passing of Glenda Lewis

 African American Student Services

"Glenda Lewis was an integral member of African American Student Services. As a graduate student, Glenda served as President of the Black Graduate & Professional Student Association (BGPSA) and also served as a fellow for the UNM Black Alumni Chapter. Anytime Glendawanted us to think deeper about the way we approached our work, she would say, 'I don't know, sounds suspicious...' which always meant that we needed to think more critically."

Community Engagement Center

"Glenda was a family member for us at CEC, always there for us and supporting us even when she was serving in other roles at UNM. She had a fierce intellect and a warm and loving heart, which served her well in teaching roles as a graduate student with us. She taught dual credit to students at NACA and ACE Leadership High. She also designed and facilitated workshops and classes for the UNM Service Corps. Her students loved her ability to connect theory to the reality they experienced in society. She had a wonderful ability to be joyful even during tough times, uplifting everyone with her sharp yet humorous analysis of injustices around us, captured in her catch phrase, 'sounds suspicious.'”

Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

Glenda Lewis was a doctoral student in the Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies and in the final stage of completing her dissertation. She approached her research and scholarship as an educator, activist, community-organizer, and intellectual. Her dissertation was framed by Critical Race Theory: A Participatory Action Research Study on the Racialized Experiences and Perceptions of Race by Students of Color in Higher Education. Ms. Lewis was deeply committed to social justice as illustrated in the following passage from her dissertation:

All stakeholders in higher education must center race and structural racism in the dialogue if past errors are to be corrected (Bonilla-Silva, 2010; Leonardo, 2009)….We students of color must collectively and collaboratively break the silence.  Social justice requires a re-envisioning and a re-investment in our educational outcomes.  If higher education is that space where ideas can be questioned, challenged, and changed, then we must begin putting these needed changes into action (p. 4). 

Her dissertation committee included Professors Glenabah Martinez (chair), Nancy López,
Laura Haniford, Pisarn Chamcharatsri, and Carlos Lopez Leiva.

Division for Equity and Inclusion

The Division for Equity and Inclusion joins the UNM community in mourning the loss of Glenda Lewis. Glenda's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion was present as she participated in DEI programs and events, always with a smile, a kind word and welcoming presence. Her loss will be profoundly felt as well as her commitment to ensuring that all Lobos were treated fairly and equitably. May she rest in Power.

LGBTQ Resource Center

The LGBTQ Resource Center alongside the rest of the UNM community mourns the loss of Glenda Lewis. Glenda was a tremendous force on campus, advocating for students as GPSA president, and for equitable access for all. We could always count on her support at anything we did, with her marvelous smile and swagger that was unmatched. Thank you Glenda for all the work you did alongside us, you will be greatly missed.

Native American Community Academy

We are very saddened to hear about the passing of Glenda; our friend, mentor and colleague. Glenda worked with and taught many students, leaving a positive impact, encouraging them to do their best and modeling hard work. Her humor was infectious. We could always count on her for a laugh or a smile, especially when she told many on campus, “Sounds suspicious!”  She embodied the NACA core values of perseverance, respect, community/service and she was a great friend to many. She will be missed by many at NACA and we send our deepest condolences. 

Student Activities Center

Glenda Lewis was a wonderful person, friend, and Lobo.  As President of the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), she was a champion for student rights and services here at UNM.  Glenda had a wonderful leadership style and always had a way of making people feel very important and a part of something larger.  Her efforts to make things better for everyone did not end with her term as GPSA President.  She continued doing great work with other student and community organizations.  Her smile and personality would always light up a room.  Glenda Lewis will be greatly missed, but more importantly, greatly remembered and valued for her impact at UNM.