OEOP donor and advisory board member Lewis W. “Lew” Counts, MIT ’65, passed away on September 14 at the age of 80. Lew was a true OEOP champion. Together with his wife, Connee, he embodied the OEOP values of community, diversity and access. Lew never missed a chance to build community with students and instructors during final symposia and workshops, and advocated fiercely for increased diversity and access as an advisory board member.
“It’s difficult to choose a single favorite memory of Lew, as we shared so many happy moments during his time as OEOP supporter, champion, advisor and dear friend. But it’s the memories of his consistent presence that give me comfort. I feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to know him, and to be inspired by his great works – Including his regular reminder to me, that “we got to do more”,” said OEOP Executive Director Eboney Hearn.
Lew consistently “did more” for the OEOP family. He gave generously to support student and alumni wellness initiatives, and consistently shared the OEOP story and mission with fellow MIT alumni to support the office’s fundraising efforts. Year after year he participated in our selection committees, and drafted pages of carefully-crafted notes for our meetings to ensure that the OEOP served the students who needed it the most.
“Above all, he was present – and had genuine interest in our students’ voices and passions. The OEOP family will always cherish the way he engaged in long conversations with students during our pizza gatherings, and the mentorship and guidance he offered students as they presented their final projects at MIT,” said Hearn.
Lew embodied determination and kindness, and the OEOP is grateful to have shared his journey. A full biography of Lew, including his journey in STEM is available here.