Ralph Nader, Anne Stahel, and moreDid you ever wonder how the idea of the Lewis Award originated? The founder and Raleigh native, Anne Williams Stahel, gives credit for the idea to consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Here is her story.
Anne’s husband, Ed, and Ralph Nader were roommates during their freshman year at Princeton. At their 35th college reunion in 1990, Ralph proposed starting an organization (Princeton Project ’55, now Princeton Alumni Corps) pairing Princeton students with nonprofit organizations across the United States with the goal of addressing society’s problems. When Ed died suddenly 6 weeks later, Ralph encouraged Anne to set up a fund to help pay for a portion of the students’ internship stipend in Ed’s memory. (This partnership has helped make improvements in numerous areas of American society including health and education.)
Ed was the third person in Anne’s family to die in a period of fifteen days in July, 1990. During that time of immense sadness and shock, Msgr. Gerald Lewis was the rock for the entire Stahel family. Anne wanted to find a way to say a meaningful thank you to Msgr. Lewis. Recalling Ralph Nader’s suggestion to honor her husband Ed’s memory, Anne decided to identify and fund a need in the Raleigh Diocese to honor Msgr. Lewis. After some research, Anne decided that recognizing and honoring outstanding teachers in Catholic schools in the Raleigh Diocese was the perfect way to thank Msgr. Lewis while making a difference in the lives of Catholic educators. Thus the Lewis Award was born!