Indiana State University Newsroom

Alumni, student speakers announced for spring commencement

April 22, 2013

Maggie Lewis, president of the Indianapolis City-County Council, will serve as alumni speaker for Indiana State University's spring commencement on May 4. Britany Dean, a graduating senior from Brazil, Ind., will deliver the student address.

Lewis holds two degrees from Indiana State - a bachelor of science in community health education and a master of public administration. A Columbus, Ind., native and a graduate of Columbus East High School, Lewis has dedicated her career to public service and helping those in need. She is the first African-American woman to lead the Indianapolis council.

Lewis is also executive director of Dove Recovery House for women, the largest half-way house in Marion County. The Dove House provides support and transitional housing for women who are recovering from substance abuse.

She began her career as chief operations officer for the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation. She later served as a consultant to the Governor's Commission for a Drug-Free Indiana before being named executive director of the Great Indy Neighborhood Initiative from 2007 to 2010. In that role, she recruited and engaged residents in developing and implementing the Crooked Creek Quality of Life Plan.

In 2008, Lewis joined the Lafayette Square Area Coalition and its efforts to re-brand the area into an international marketplace, agreeing to chair the first "A World of Difference: An International Parade." She also chaired the second annual "Taste the Difference." Both events drew thousands of people caught the attention of national media, including the New York Times. She also put her talents to use on the coalition's land use committee and is now a board member.

Under Lewis' leadership the Dove Recovery House recovered from a 2011 funding shortfall that jeopardized the safe haven for 23 residents. She reached out to key stakeholders in the community and to government for assistance and rallied community support for dollars to secure the house's longevity.

Lewis is involved in several efforts to better the Indianapolis community. She serves as a member of the Eagledale-Lafayette Square Area Weed and Seed Steering Committee and was a founder of the Pike Township Combat Committee, which provides free weekend retreats to women service members returning from duty overseas. She is also involved with the Mayor's Advisory Council on Disabilities, the Pike Township Board for Beautification and Economic Development, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and Mount Paran Church, where she is president of the usher board. She is married to Indiana State University alumnus Leroy Lewis III and they are the parents of Leroy Lewis IV.

Dean, who is completing a bachelor's degree in communication with a public relations emphasis, was selected to address fellow graduates in the class of 2013.

While at Indiana State, Dean served as president of the Society of Collegiate Scholars and as vice president of College Mentors for Kids and public relations chair for the university's Nonprofit Leadership Alliance chapter, which was recognized this year as the national campus chapter of the year. She also served on the University Honors Council and the Sycamore Leadership Coalition and was a peer advisor for the University Honors program.

A Sycamore Ambassador and McNair Scholar Award recipient, Dean was named Outstanding Junior and Outstanding Senior in the communication department, Outstanding Public Relations Student and was a finalist for Indiana Intern of the Year. She received a Focus Indiana Scholarship, the NextGen Nonprofit Leadership Scholarship and received the Richard G. Landini Outstanding Junior Award.

Dean served internships with the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce and Wabash Valley Community Foundation, was Vigo County assistant for 100+ Women Who Care, served on the United Way of the Wabash Valley Review Committee and was a member of the Planning to Achieve Collegiate Excellence (PACE) Tutoring and Mentoring Program.

A graduate of Northview High School, Dean is the daughter of Robin Smith and Tim Dean. Following graduation from Indiana State, Dean plans to enroll this fall at the University of Southern California to study strategic public relations.

Indiana State's 142nd commencement is scheduled to begin at noon May 4 in Hulman Center. Commencement is open to the public and no tickets are necessary. The ceremony will be streamed live on the university's website,

Photo: - Maggie Lewis

Photo: - Britany Dean

Media contact: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or

Story Highlights

Maggie Lewis, president of the Indianapolis City-County Council, will serve as alumni speaker for Indiana State University's spring commencement on May 4. Britany Dean, a graduating senior from Brazil, Ind., will deliver the student address.

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