Pericles Lewis, Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of English at Yale University, serves as Dean of Yale College. In partnership with other university leaders and faculty members, he is responsible for guiding the curriculum, intellectual life, residential experience, and student affairs of the Yale College community. His goal is to ensure that Yale offers the world’s best undergraduate education.
Lewis earned his B.A. with first-class honors in English literature from McGill University in 1990 and his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stanford University in 1997. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, he joined the Yale faculty in 1998 as assistant professor in the Comparative Literature and English departments, rising to the rank of full professor in 2007.
Lewis’s research shows how developments in literary form emerge out of a background of social, political and existential ferment. His literary critical work focuses on the modernists who revolutionized European literature in the early twentieth century. He is the author of three books on the social contexts of modern literature and editor of four books. He is currently writing a book on liberal education and completing work on the fifth edition of the Norton Anthology of World Literature, for which he serves as the primary editor for the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
A former member of the advisory board of the American Comparative Literature Association, Lewis serves on several editorial boards and has written for the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Harvard International Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Times Higher Education.
From 2012 to 2017, Lewis served as founding president of Yale-NUS College, a collaboration between Yale and the National University of Singapore. Under his leadership, the college developed into a thriving model of residential liberal arts education much admired and studied throughout Asia and the world. From 2017 to 2022, he served as Yale’s vice president for global strategy and as a vice provost with responsibility for research on international matters and the support of teaching and learning across campus. In these roles, he was active in planning the launch of the Yale Institute for Global Health, the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs, and the Yale Schwarzman Center.
As Dean of Yale College, he has emphasized the importance of thoughtful conversation and the free exchange of ideas in the context of a supportive community. He has strengthened the residential college system and support for first-generation and low-income students and has updated Yale’s policies on mental health to support student flourishing. Dean Lewis has encouraged curricular innovation in one of the nation’s oldest and most respected undergraduate programs.
Born in Toronto, Lewis is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. His wife Sheila Hayre, a graduate of Yale Law School and former staff attorney at New Haven Legal Assistance, teaches at Quinnipiac University Law School in North Haven, Connecticut. Their son is a recent graduate of Yale College, and their daughter is a current Yale undergraduate.