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UCLA Magazine Winter 2003
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Winter 2003
The Cardinal of Westwood
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Congressman Lewis on the cover of Look
Lewis' experience as a student with Project India landed him on the cover of the February 1956 issue of Look magazine

One of the most significant events of Lewis' life occurred the summer following his transfer to UCLA, when he was selected to participate in Project India. Sponsored by UCLA's University Religious Conference, Project India sent 12 undergraduates and two faculty advisers to India for a summer to work with students in local communities.

The experience was an awakening for Lewis. "Project India caused me to look at the world in a different way and to realize America has an ever-growing responsibility to effect change and to take a leadership role in the world," he says.

For part of the odyssey, a team of Look magazine journalists accompanied the Project India group, chronicling their journey in a 10-page feature, "America at Its Best in India." On the cover of the February 1956 issue is a photograph of Lewis surrounded by cheering Indian students.

The Look photograph still brings a smile to the face of Bob Stein '56, a Project India alumnus. "It is absolutely remarkable that Jerry has not changed," he says. "The person you see in the picture is the same person I know today."

Even then, his friends recall, Lewis was forming his political persona. "If he found himself in a disagreement, Jerry used patience and understanding in seeing the other side, but he was relentless in making his point," says Stein. "He has the unique ability to make those of us who start out disagreeing ultimately agree with him."

Those abilities were honed in India, as was his dedication to public service. His Project India experience heightened Lewis' awareness of fostering self-reliance and economic freedom and prompted Lewis' decision to become a member of the Republican Party.

When an effective leader like Jerry Lewis credits his experience at UCLA for significantly and dramatically influencing his career and his way of viewing the world, it sends a message that UCLA is a place that prepares men and women who truly make a difference in society," Chancellor Carnesale proudly acknowledges.

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