On Saturday, May 10, 2008, George W. Purnell, a diligent student and accomplished musician, earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the College of Arts and Sciences and was awarded the competitive Reginald F. Lewis Scholar Prize. The $10,000 prize is awarded to the undergraduate student that makes the most academic progress between the sophomore and senior years.
Purnell, native of Yeadon, Pa., had a cumulative grade point average of 2.41 at the end of his sophomore year. After much hard work and determination, Purnell graduated with an average of 3.12, a .71 improvement. The academic improvement was greater than that of any other eligible graduating undergraduate student. He is currently serving as a teacher in the Phoenix, Arizona school system where he is a Chess Coach in an innovative instructional program designed to enhance student academic and personal achievement in the Chess environment.
He decided to attend Howard after visiting his sister Leigh Anne Purnell (BS ‘00) and discovering the University’s positive social and academic environment, comparatively small class sizes, and the attention that students received from instructors.
In 1990, the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, Inc. established the Howard University Reginald F. Lewis Fund to support various student and faculty academic activities. A cornerstone of the innovative initiative is the Reginald F. Lewis Scholar Prize. The University President bestows the award during the Commencement exercise to a graduating senior, selected from the University’s undergraduate population, whose record reflects the greatest degree of academic progress.