Pericles Lewis, Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of English, serves as Vice President for Global Strategy and Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives at Yale University. Reporting to the President and the Provost, he is responsible for ensuring that the global efforts of the university serve Yale’s academic goals and priorities. Lewis works closely with colleagues across the university to provide strategic guidance for Yale’s many international programs and support for teaching and learning in all schools of the university. His primary responsibility is to enhance Yale’s international leadership in undergraduate, graduate, and professional education and as a world-class research institution.
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. He oversaw the articulation of the college’s mission, the development of its curriculum, and the recruitment of students, faculty, and staff.
Since returning to New Haven, Lewis has led the university’s planning for the Schwarzman Center, set to open in 2021, and the new Yale Jackson School for Global Affairs, which is scheduled to open in 2022. He provides oversight for the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning and the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies and works closely with the leadership of Yale-NUS College, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London, the Yale Center Beijing, and the Yale Institute for Global Health. As President of the Gruber Foundation, he oversees its program honoring individuals in the fields of Cosmology, Genetics, Neuroscience, Justice, and Women’s Rights. During the COVID crisis, he has led academic continuity planning for remote instruction and for a successful return to campus.
Pericles 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, with appointments in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature.
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. The author or editor of six books, he was also the founding editor of Yale’s Modernism Lab, an early digital humanities project. His more recent research focuses on the history and philosophy of liberal education. 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, and Times Higher Education.
Lewis is widely recognized for his dedication as a teacher, including courses for the Yale in London program and the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, as well as at Yale and Yale-NUS. He has received a variety of honors and awards for his contributions to research, teaching, and service.
Professor Lewis is a citizen of both Canada and the United States. His wife, Sheila Hayre, a graduate of Yale Law School and former staff attorney at New Haven Legal Assistance, now teaches at Quinnipiac University Law School in North Haven, Connecticut. They live in New Haven with their two children.