Approximately 100 individuals gathered in the MacEwan Student Centre Ballroom on Tue., Apr. 12 to remember and give thanks for the life of Michael Lewis, a Political Science graduate student who went missing on Feb. 4. Lewis' body was found Mar. 8 in the Bow River. He was 25 years old.
Four colleagues and faculty members from the Political Science department recalled their memories of Lewis for the audience, all bringing their own stories of their time and interactions with Lewis.
Colleagues such as Tracey Raney and Tyler Wightman, as well as Lewis's graduate supervisor Dr. Rob Huebert gave eloquent anecdotes of their experiences with him.
Raney recalled Lewis as a passionate individual who was very passionate about his viewpoints, and had very firm beliefs about politics, yet was respectful of others' opinions and beliefs. Raney recalled an experience aboard a bus one evening that turned into a rancorous debate on American politics. However, Raney stressed that conversations did not always circle around politics, but also of life itself.
"Mike was a lover of knowledge, but he was never arrogant, rude or condescending," recalled Raney. "He was thoughtful, sweet and witty--a very genuine person."
Huebert's speech reflected a student who was attentive and willing to learn, with a great thirst for knowledge.
"Mike is truly one of those gems that makes teaching worthwhile," said Huebert. "In the matter in which you first met him, he was a little bit quiet, a little bit reserved, he was thinking. The thing that struck me the most... was in which he [was] always paying attention, listening to what his colleagues had to say, and turning it around in his mind."
Lewis chased after knowledge, and was willing to engage to discuss and debate positions. His willingness to do so, according to Huebert, made him a true up-and-comer.
The eulogy, delivered by Lewis's friend Chris Northcott, described Lewis as a person with extreme passion in everything he did, despite any obstacle. A man with values yet was open to debate and discussion, and a man who did not take himself too seriously. The eulogy also delved the audience a little deeper into Lewis' life, a life of patience, tolerance, selflessness, intelligence and humor. Along with this, Northcott describes Lewis as a spiritual person, in touch with his own spiritual self.
"[Lewis] knew life was not easy," said Northcott. "It is an arduous ascent up out of the cave and into the light, and it is from this light that becomes luminous."
It was also revealed during the service by Huebert that the university has decided to award Lewis a Master of Arts degree posthumously, an honor that is fitting for a student with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and for a life that has touched so many lives, regardless of east or west, or any other divides.