Joe Smith, ETSU spokesman and friend of Lewis, said he was “heartbroken” when he heard the news.
“Every so often, we meet someone whose spirit, joy, and love of life empowers you to be a better person. Dr. Angela Radford Lewis was one of those people. I had the honor of being her friend for many years at ETSU. We laughed together. We encouraged each other. When darkness surrounded either of us, we prayed together,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “Her unexpected death this morning has devastated our campus and this community.”
Prior to working at ETSU, Lewis was a faculty member in the Department of Human Sciences at Middle Tennessee State University. Her first administrative position began at ETSU in 2004, where she served as the department chair for the former Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. In 2009, she moved to the Clemmer College of Education, where she served for five years as an associate dean and 17 months as the interim dean.
In 2015, she went to academic affairs and served as the associate vice provost for undergraduate education and vice provost for curricula, programs and service before accepting her most recent position. There, she had hoped to provide leadership for campus diversity and inclusion efforts, which she described as “two major pillars of ETSU’s strategic plan.”
“This has been a very sad day for the campus of East Tennessee State University and for this region. Dr. Angela Lewis was a champion for our students, for this institution, and for this community she so proudly called home. To those who had the honor of knowing her, she was an endless source of encouragement and inspiration,” ETSU President Brian Noland wrote in an emailed statement to the Press.
“No matter where she was, Angela went out of her way to make people feel welcomed and valued, and she always brought passion and enthusiasm to everything she did. Angela transformed our campus and she transformed the lives of many. She will be missed.”