Loida Nicolas-Lewis honors philanthropist late husband with documentary

Businesswoman and philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis honors her late husband, Reginald F. Lewis, with a documentary initially aired during Black History Month on PBS.

Lewis was the first ever African American to close an overseas billion dollar buyout deal, 30 years ago.


“I felt that it was important that during Black History Month, his phenomenal success be a legacy and an example for people who were not born with life’s advantages,” said Nicolas-Lewis.

Lewis acquired an unprecedented global conglomerate that paved the way for future black business leaders.


President Obama praised Lewis’s work ethic, skills and know-how, saying that being the first of anything requires a certain mindset and Reginald Lewis had it.

With a single investment, Reginald F. Lewis became one of the wealthiest men in America at that time.



With his wealth, Lewis supported causes in the African American community – including funding Jesse Jackson’s campaign.


“He also donated 3 million dollars to his alma mater — Harvard Law School – the largest donation by an individual at that time,” said his daughter Cristina Lewis-Halpern.

In gratitude, Harvard named the Reginald Lewis International Law Center after the billionaire philanthropist – the first major facility named in honor of an African American.

Nicolas-Lewis, who took over her late husband’s business empire after his death in 1993, says Filipino-Americans can also learn from this iconic business leader.


“Work hard intelligently, meaning to say, you don’t just work hard, you have a goal to reach,” she said.


Pioneers: Reginald Lewis and the making of a billion dollar empire will soon re-air in other networks on April 23 on WI-IW, and May 8th on NJTV.


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