Law dean known for encouraging creative thinking around diversity in legal ed dies at conference

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A view of the main entrance into the North Carolina Central University campus. Photo by RDUpedia, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Browne C. Lewis, the dean of the North Carolina Central University School of Law, was found dead in her hotel room Thursday while in Colorado attending the Law School Admission Council’s annual conference. At the time of Lewis’ death, she was a board member for the LSAC.

“We are reeling from the loss of our friend and board member and rededicate our passion for justice and equity to our brilliant and beloved colleague,” said Kellye Testy, president and CEO of the LSAC, in a statement to the ABA Journal.

A June 3 announcement from the school does not list Lewis’ cause of death.

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that Lewis’ death was unexpected. and WTVD also have coverage.

Lewis was also a board member with the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, according to her NCCU School of Law bio. She wanted the CALI to be better in its attention to diversity, equity and inclusion, and she was ahead of many in seeing how the issues link to teaching, communicating and socializing through technology, according to John Mayer, executive director of the CALI.

“Browne pushed me to be better,” Mayer said in an email to the Journal.

That included her encouragement to use his creativity, coupled with the potential for technological innovation, to uncover and begin to address systemic racism in “legal education, online communities and computer-assisted instruction,” he added.

In 2020, Lewis was named dean of the NCCU School of Law, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

She graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1988, and she later earned an LLM in energy and environmental law from the University of Houston Law Center in 1997, according to and her LinkedIn profile.

Before Lewis was tapped to be the dean at the NCCU School of Law, she was a professor at the Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and was the director of its Center for Health Law and Policy, according to

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