In Honor of Representative John Lewis and Reverend Cordy Tindell Vivian

university logo
July 19, 2020

The University of North Carolina honors the extraordinary lives and leadership of two American heroes; distinguished United States Representative John Lewis and the Reverend Cordy Tindell Vivian, civil rights champion and widely respected minister, both of whom passed away this week.

John Lewis was a lifelong and courageous advocate for racial understanding and equality and helped to lead as a young man alongside Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., the tireless struggle to end racism as a scourge against our nation. His acumen as a US representative elevated and established him as the widely recognized “conscience of the United States Congress.” The Reverend Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian was a decades-long renowned advocate of racial equality and civil rights and an energetic preacher for human rights and racial justice.

Both leaders dedicated their lives to the cause of non-violent activism in the struggle for racial justice and equity. Each of them often risked their personal safety in the fight against racism in all of its forms wherever it existed.  Also, because of their courage, intellect, humane values and tireless hard work, both Representative Lewis and Reverend Vivian were awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The University of North Carolina Asheville honors their lives of leadership and vision and strives to honor their lifelong values dedicated to persistent work against racism, bigotry and hate in all of its forms for our University and our academic community. We are emboldened by Mr. Lewis and Reverend Vivian’s lives at this moment of reckoning regarding racial justice in America.


Chancellor Cable and Provost Campbell