NCCU School of Law dean found dead in Colorado hotel

DURHAM, NC (WTVD) — The dean of North Carolina Central University Law School was found dead in her hotel room on Thursday, the university said.

Browne C. Lewis was attending a conference at the time of his death. She joined the university in 2020.

Lewis died just a month before her 2-year anniversary with NCCU. She was an accomplished jurist, advocate and mentor.

“His vision was clear from day one in leading the school as a school that provides unique opportunities for diverse and talented future lawyers to be practice-ready practitioners,” said NCCU Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye in a statement.

Dean Malik Edwards said Lewis was just making his impact on the community. He was devastated to learn of her sudden death.

“I think there’s definitely a hole there. But the good thing is she had a vision, and she put that vision in place. And luckily we have structures that allow those pieces to move forward,” Edwards said.

He said she has led and created so many opportunities for minorities in the field of law and that these programs and lessons will continue in her honor.

“She wanted to be a dean here because she wanted to be in an HBCU. Unfortunately, there are (few) opportunities for first-generation students and for minority students to become lawyers…African Americans make up less than 5% of the bar and that’s something she wanted to change,” he said.

We also spoke with Cassandra Stokes who received her law degree from NCCU in 2016 and has since worked closely with the school and Dean Lewis over her two years.

“The legal community is reeling from the sudden loss of an exceptional lawyer and education leader. NCCU is a close-knit family. And it’s always devastating and heartbreaking to lose someone in this way. “, said Stokes.

She asks everyone to keep their community in their prayers, especially the students who now lack her guidance.

“Students who have just graduated, and more importantly, they are preparing and studying for the bar. So I just hope you know, the legal family and the DERM community, I just asked that you know, we continue to remain in prayer and comfort during these difficult times,” she said.

Their hope now is to build on each other and carry on his vision and his legacy.

“I knew her before she was here as dean and she was always a supporter and sought out and tried to provide support for people of color coming into the law academy, that she had a vision of what she wanted the school to be. And I hope the way we honor her continues to move forward and be the best institution possible,” Edwards said.

NCCU has yet to release details of any service or memorial.

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