Photo: William Lewis

Designing a Lasting Legacy

“As the endowment fund grows, that’s really going to push the envelope for innovation.”

The global coronavirus pandemic has upended nearly every aspect of our everyday lives, from grocery shopping and eldercare to workplace configurations and the classroom experience.

Architect and Army Lt. Col. William Lewis ’04, M ’05 believes architecture will play a pivotal role in re-engineering our built environment for optimal human health and interaction, now more than ever. And he believes Norwich graduates will lead the charge.

“It’s the students on the Hill right now who are learning the interdisciplinary concepts, and who will advance the understanding required, to solve these immense challenges,” he says.

As executive officer of the U.S. Army Health Facility Planning Agency, Lewis knows how well-designed structures impact the people who use them. Leveraging architecture, social science, psychology, and big data, Lewis designs, evaluates, and oversees the construction of world-class military and civilian hospitals—facilities that have not only boosted staff performance but patient outcomes.

Lewis has lived the value of a Norwich education. He credits its academic rigor, faculty support, and loyal alumni network for opening doors to a career he loves. Today, as incoming chair of NU’s Architecture + Art Endowment Committee, he is perfectly positioned to pay that forward.

“The endowment fund is one of my true passions,” he says. “It’s the future of the [Architecture + Art] school. Because there will be so many opportunities we can influence by having those funds readily available, from student scholarships to faculty recruitment to collaborative research and more.”

Established in 2015, the school’s endowment committee has already raised over $100,000 from a diverse group of alumni. Some graduated long before the school even exist-ed. “It’s because our student and faculty work is tangible,” Lewis says. “Our grads return to campus, they experience the power, and they want to be part of that vibe.”

Lewis has been writing checks to Norwich since he was a young officer. He ardently believes that participation—not the amount a person can give—is what matters most.

With a goal to raise $250,000 by 2028, Lewis says: “Let’s get at it!”


Lt. Col. William Lewis ’04, M’05, USA
Incoming Chair, NU Architecture + Art Endowment Committee
Executive Officer, U.S. Army Health Facility Planning Agency

Lewis commissioned from Norwich into the Army’s Medical Service Corps, a decision that later inspired him to earn a PhD in Planning, Design, and the Built Environment from Clemson University. Today, he leads the U.S. Army Health Facility Planning Agency, where he applies his architectural expertise toward hospital replacement projects around the world.

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