Why is College Ten now John R. Lewis College?

In 2002, College Ten opened its doors, attracting dedicated staff, distinguished faculty, and politically-engaged students, all brought together by a commitment to Social Justice and Community.  For two decades, the College Ten community has worked collectively, creatively, intentionally and tirelessly to establish and implement renowned programs, events, courses, and initiatives that interrogate  the systemic roots of prejudice and violence; empower students as knowledge producers and agents of positive change; and embrace nonviolence, solidarity formation, and recognition of our  shared humanity. These values are exemplified by the life and legacy of the late American civil rights leader John R. Lewis, who exhorted us to “Speak up, speak out, get in the way. Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.” As John R. Lewis College, we dedicate ourselves to answering his call for justice, liberation, and democracy. John Lewis’ example and impact transcend demography or geography -- in this contemporary moment, he remains a beacon guiding us through difficult times. Our students will learn history, and they will make history, tackling the conjoined challenges we face. 


How did the endowment at John R. Lewis College happen?

In December 2020, UCSC was approached by anonymous donors who indicated they wanted to make a sizable donation to name College Ten after the civil rights leader and congressman, John R. Lewis. This set in motion a series of conversations with UCSC faculty and staff in order to build and strengthen relationships with those close to John R. Lewis.  This process ultimately led to an agreement with John R. Lewis’ inner circle, who approved of the new name for College Ten.

From there, a letter of gift was created between the donors, the University, and the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation. The letter outlined the purpose of the funding and related procedures. Once terms were agreed upon between all parties involved, we announced the naming on October 27, 2021 and dedicated John R. Lewis College on May 6, 2022.


How are the funds used?

According to the letter of gift, the funds for John R. Lewis College are to support the following 5 pillars (or values) related to the overall theme of the College, Social Justice and Community:

  1. Students are change makers
  2. Commitment to justice
  3. Courageous and interconnected community
  4. Empowering engagement
  5. Sustaining oneself in the struggle

This revolutionary endowment allows us, for the first time in our history, to secure funding in perpetuity, for innovative programs and initiatives related to these pillars. 

Therefore, the funds are distributed in order to meet these pillars in the following way:

Endowment Funded Initiatives:

Pillar 1: 
Students are Change Makers
Pillar 2: 
Commitment to Justice
Pillar 3: 
Courageous & Interconnected Community
Pillar 4:
Empowering Engagement
Pillar 5: 
Sustaining Oneself in the Struggle



JRLC 85 course

Practical Activism Conference (PAC)

Social Justice & Community Weekend (SJCW)

Transcommunal Peacemaking

CoCurricular Office CUIP Internships & Student Staff

JRLC 35 “Knowledge for Justice” course

Calabasas After School Program

Co-Sponsorship of Events (i.e. Dia de los Muertos, Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas, BSU partnerships, etc.)

Rumi’s Field Theme Floor

International Living Center

African, Black, & Caribbean Apartment Housing

(H)ACER Internships & Leadership Opportunities 

(H)ACER courses (CLNI 70)

Student leadership positions

(H)ACER Garden Club

Slugs 4 Self-Care (S4SC) group

Mindfulness and Gentle Yoga Series

Collaborations with the Advisory Council (partnership with  community organizations, Black Student Union (BSU), ABC Student Success, CRES/Black Studies Minor, Center for Racial Justice, etc.) 

UCDC Participation/Collaboration


What is the process to decide how the endowment is used?

Decisions are made in accordance with the Letter of Gift, which names the Provost as the steward of the endowment.  The Provost commits to shared decision making amongst the co-leaders of the college and in consultation with the Advisory group. 

Early in the discussions about this naming, the Provost and Senior Director formed a John R. Lewis College Advisory group who aided in the initial decision making and guidance for how the dedication and the corresponding foundation was being envisioned.  This group consisted of:

  • Current Provost of Colleges Nine and Ten
  • Current Senior Director of College Student Life, Colleges Nine and Ten
  • Former Provost of Colleges Nine and Ten
  • ABC Student Success staff
  • EOP staff
  • Two Faculty from Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Professor Emeriti 
  • UCSC Alum/Community member
  • Current student from BSU

The Provost has appointed John R. Lewis College Advisory Committee, which will serve for 2 years, meets quarterly and has the following membership each year:

  • College Leadership
  • Faculty from CRES/related department 
  • Staff from ABC Student Success/EOP
  • Alum/Community Member from NAACP or other related organizations
  • Student leader 

The goals of the the JRLC Advisory Council include:

  • Bring staff, students, faculty together to advise the college on curriculum, projects, programs and endowment stewardship;
  • Ensure synergies and greater connections between the college and units across campus, such as CRES, Black Studies, ABC Student Success, EOP, and BSU; 
  • Guide future planning for the college
  • Co-envision/implement a special event or program each year that is in line with our college themes and pillars.

This might entail bringing a speaker to campus, a panel discussion (such as something akin to the Necessary Trouble event), a film or exhibition, etc. JRLC would offer annual funds (up to $5K total per year from the endowment) and in-kind contributions (e.g., free use of space, tech crew support, staff time to plan and conduct outreach, etc.) to support the event. 


Interested in collaborating or need more information?

Please contact c9jrl@ucsc.edu for more information.  


About John R. Lewis

Representative John R. Lewis was a civil rights icon, and a leader in this country’s historic and continuing struggle for freedom, equality, democracy, and basic human rights for all. He was an organizer whose bravery and conviction helped pave the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He later served 30-plus years in the House of Representatives, where he became known as the “conscience of Congress” for his commitment to justice and equity. The naming of College Ten as John R. Lewis College is an honor that we embrace with both delight and the weight of responsibility to help carry Lewis’s calling for justice forward into the future.


Table features list of John R. Lewis College initiatives and which of the 5 Pillars they relate to

UC Santa Cruz advances commitment to social justice with College 10 naming in honor of John R. Lewis

The University of California at Santa Cruz announced today that College Ten—an undergraduate residential learning community founded on principles of social justice and community—will be named in honor of the late congressman and civil rights icon John R. Lewis. 


‘John Lewis’s legacy will imbue all we do’

Once considered a ‘scrappy upstart,’ College Ten—to be named John R. Lewis College following an endowment gift—plans to continue and expand upon the strong programs that led to the naming after the late congressman and civil rights icon


A new era for College Ten begins as it transitions to John R. Lewis College

Campus commits to beginning the hard work to live up to the 'extraordinary honor and responsibility' of being named for the late congressman and civil rights icon


The struggle to protect voting rights must go on. Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement can help

Faculty member shares opinion on recent U.S. Senate voting rights legislation decision and reflects on historical perspective


Opinion: Remembering John Lewis’ noble cause of ‘good trouble’

Throughout his life of activism, Congressman Lewis was beaten, bloodied, spat upon, insulted, condemned and, often, misunderstood for his contributions to American ideals.