Georgia State University Awards First John Lewis Scholarship

Monday, July 31st, 2023

The first John Lewis Scholarship, which was endowed at Georgia State University in 2022 to honor the legacy of the long-time U.S. Representative and civil rights icon, has been awarded to Mitchell Harris, a Class of 2026 political science undergraduate student.

“It’s an honor to receive this award celebrating John Lewis, and it makes me even more determined to find ways I can stand up and make a difference like he did as a college student and throughout his life,” said Harris. “I have a passion for public service, and receiving this scholarship means that I get the opportunity to continue focusing on community engagement efforts and my academics instead of worrying about how I am going to pay for tuition or certain living expenses. I’m extremely grateful for that.”

Harris, a graduate of Shaw High School in Columbus, Ga., is an Honors College student and a university assistant working in development in the College of Arts & Sciences. Harris is also actively involved in the university’s Student Government Association (SGA). As a first-year student, he was a transition liaison, providing support for students transferring into Georgia State, and he has been selected to serve on the SGA’s executive team in the upcoming 2023-24 school year.

“We knew right away in the interview process that Mitchell, with his academic record, involvement in community service and knowledge of John Lewis, set the bar high and possessed all the qualities we were looking for in a scholar,” said Bernard McCrary, director of Cultures, Communities and Inclusion at Georgia State. “Mitchell is a great student, a leader and, more importantly, just a good person, and his tenacity, heart for service and passion for social justice are all traits that embody the spirit of John Lewis.”

“I don’t think we could have chosen a better person as the inaugural recipient of the John Lewis Scholarship.”

Endowed through donations totaling over $26,000 from more than 70 congregants of Decatur First United Methodist Church, the scholarship was initiated by Georgia State principal senior lecturer and alumnus Michael Paul Black (M.S. ’04, Ph.D. ’05) and conceived to honor Lewis by the church’s leadership council in the summer of 2020. It is awarded annually to a participant in My Brother’s Keeper, Georgia State’s program in the University System of Georgia’s African American Male Initiative, who is in good academic standing and has demonstrated financial need.

To help expand the impact of the John Lewis Scholarship at Georgia State by making a gift, visit Learn more about My Brother’s Keeper and the ways you can support it at

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