UC Davis Brewing Pioneer Dr. Michael Lewis Launches Scholarship

Dr. Michael J. Lewis, iconic UC Davis brewing professor and founder of the UC Davis Master Brewers Program, has launched the Michael and Sheila Lewis Scholarship in Brewing, a merit-based award that recognizes academic and professional success in the industry. The scholarship is funded by a $75,000 endowment created by Lewis and his family, which will provide recipients with support to attend the in-person UC Davis Master Brewers Certificate Program.

“The US brewing industry and the University of California gave me the opportunities to do what I did, fostered the professional life it has been my privilege to live and sustained my family,” said Lewis. “This endowed scholarship is my way of recognizing and celebrating that fact and providing similar opportunities to a new generation of brewers.”

According to Glen Fox, Anheuser Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Science at UC Davis and the academic director of the Master Brewers Certificate Program, Lewis’ work as a scholar, educator and researcher directly contributed to the birth of the craft brewing industry. “Michael’s influence on beer and brewing is monumental,” said Fox. “And now, through this endowment, his legacy will continue to live on through the brewers his generosity supports and inspires.”

Lewis joined the UC Davis Food Science and Technology faculty in 1964, where he designed the brewing courses that laid the foundation for the university’s legendary brewing program. He also taught many short courses through UNEX (later CPE) including the immensely successful course “Intensive Brewing Science for Practical Brewing.” This was the direct predecessor in the mid-90s of the UC Davis Master Brewers Certificate Program at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education (CPE), one of the longest running and most respected professional brewing education programs in the world. Nearly a thousand professional brewers have graduated from the Master Brewers Certificate Program and gone on to work at or found some of the nation’s most respected breweries, including Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Anheuser-Busch/In Bev, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, North Coast Brewing Company and Sudwerk Brewing Company, in Davis.

“I started the Master Brewers Program in the 1990s to bring UC Davis-quality instruction in brewing science to a much wider audience, at a lower cost, with minimal entrance requirements and in less time,” said Lewis. “There still remains the barrier of cost and we hope, as the scholarship endowment grows and matures, that barrier can be lowered for a few students.”

The Michael and Sheila Lewis Scholarship in Brewing will provide a partial scholarship to the UC Davis Master Brewers Certificate Program in 2024 with the intent that full scholarships will be offered as the endowment matures. Scholarship winners will be known as Lewis Scholars.

“I am delighted that the brewing program that I initiated 60 years ago here in Davis has not merely survived but, because of my efforts and the efforts of those who followed me, has become a mecca for brewing instruction and research in the Americas,” said Lewis.

The Michael and Sheila Lewis Scholarship is part of UC Davis Professional Brewing Scholarships, which provide support for deserving students to attend UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s world-renowned in-person and online Brewing Programs. Scholarships are designed to recognize academic and professional excellence and increase diversity and cross-cultural understanding in the brewing industry.

For more than 55 years, the brewing programs offered by UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education have provided students with an in-depth understanding of brewing science and brewery engineering and prepared them to enter the brewing industry with the potential to rise to the highest levels of leadership within it. For more information on UC Davis Professional Brewing Scholarships, the UC Davis Master Brewers Program and how to support UC Davis’ efforts to increase excellence and diversity in the brewing industry, contact Jon Hughes, director of Brewing and Sensory Science at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education ([email protected]).

The UC Davis Master Brewers Certificate Program is offered by UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education (CPE), the workforce development arm of the university. For more than 60 years, CPE has blended the distinctive academic expertise of UC Davis with practical training that immediately improves capability and job performance. This “Career Curriculum” supports working professionals as they refresh and expand job skills over the course of their careers.

With 48,000 annual enrollments in professional, academic and enrichment courses and more than 3 million enrollments on Coursera, CPE serves lifelong learners in the growing Sacramento region, all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

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