Dr. Violet Temple Lewis was a pioneer in the development of Black secretaries in the Midwest. Throughout her career, she observed the lack of Black women secretaries and after securing a $50 loan from a local bank opened up the Lewis Business College in 1928 in Indianapolis. The school’s mission was to provide Black women with the same secretarial skills she had acquired in college


Lewis opened a branch of the school in Detroit, MI which would go on to outgrow the original school in Indiana. 


Lewis College of Business in Detroit was designated as an HBCU. GM, Ford, and Michigan Bell all hired their first Black office employees from the school. LCB enrollment grew 600% in one year showing the demand the college created for Black office employees. Her impact on the city of Detroit was recognized with a memorial highway sign on M-10 in 2021


During a difficult economic time in Detroit, Lewis College began experiencing a steep decline in enrollment. In 2007, the school lost its accreditation, officially closing in 2015. 


Dr. Edwards was made aware of Lewis College of Business in late 2020 through conversation with Detroit business leaders. With an increased interest in diversity from his corporate partners, the idea of reopening an HBCU in the only UNESCO City of Design in the United States, and one of the largest cities with an African American population, immediately became a goal. 


Dr. D’Wayne Edwards soon became the majority stakeholder in the Lewis College of Business. On October 7, 2021, he submitted a Certificate of Assumed Name to the State of Michigan to allow the Lewis College of Business to operate under a new name: Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design.