Student Success Stories by NSHSS

About the Author

James W. Lewis is President of the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS), which he established in 2002 along with friend and co-founder, Claes Nobel, a member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes.

NSHSS supports more than 2 million lifetime members, ages 15 to 32, from 170 countries and is recognized as the world’s largest honor society for young high achievers. As the president of NSHSS, James is a mentor for high school students from freshmen to seniors and to college students making the transition to their career.  NSHSS is designed to recognize diverse students and encourage them to be a positive influence through service, leadership, and volunteer programs.



In 2015, James was named a Top 10 Diversity Champion by The Global Diversity List, published and supported by The Economist. James’s vision for diversity and inclusion and international education is reflected in NSHSS’s partnerships with world-class educational and leadership programs from around the globe. NSHSS has university partners that provide scholarships, host member events, and offer academic and leadership programs to NSHSS members. The Society also partners with many outstanding companies. His constant pursuit of more opportunities for minority and underrepresented students led him to establish the NSHSS Foundation, which offers donor-directed scholarships and also focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), Business, Finance, and Public Policy. Organizations James has founded have awarded over $20 million in student scholarships.

James was the youngest recipient of the American Eagle Award from the Invest In America National Council presented in the U.S. Senate. This award is bestowed upon recipients who exemplify outstanding leadership and make significant contributions to the American free enterprise system. Other recipients include President Ronald Reagan, Malcolm Forbes and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Warren Berger.

James was a two-term board member of the Georgia Society of Association Executives (GSAE), a professional association of non-profit and trade organizations and associations, as well as a trustee on the GSAE Foundation Board.

Selected as an Olympic Torch Bearer in 2002, James carried the Olympic flame through the Atlanta neighborhoods surrounding the Martin Luther King Memorial. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for “be a STAR” (Show Tolerance and Respect), an anti-bullying campaign created by The Creative Coalition. The Creative Coalition educates and mobilizes leaders in the arts and entertainment industry with organizations like NSHSS on issues of social importance.

In 2012, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta bestowed the city's top honor on James, The Phoenix Award, in appreciation for his outstanding contributions to the City of Atlanta and its citizens. "Atlanta is truly blessed to say James W. Lewis is one of her own.  He gives so much to students and works hard alongside of them to set an example for others to give selflessly," stated Mayor Reed.

Also in 2012, James was awarded the Champions Awards at the World Diversity Leadership Summit. Nearly 400 senior global executives from over 150 of the world’s leading corporations were a part of the international summit.  James received this award for his passion of opening doors and opportunities for young leaders from around the world. Concerning this honor and award, Todd Corley, Founder of The TAPO Institute, says “James’s personal commitment to diversity leadership is unparalleled and is evidenced in his life’s work to provide students with resources to excel academically and professionally.”

At Georgia State University (GSU), James earned his Bachelor's in Business Administration (B.B.A.) degree followed by a Master's Degree in Public Administration (M.P.A.). He taught at GSU's Andrew Young School of Public Policy at the graduate level for many years. He was also the commencement speaker for GSU in the year 2000. James was recently honored to be selected as a University Trustee at Oglethorpe University.

The mark of a true visionary is not in the projects he creates; it is in the benefits that others reap moving mankind forward. James W. Lewis has set the bar in empowering youth in the world of scholarship, academics, diversity, inclusion, international education, and volunteerism with his programs, leadership, and genuine care for humanity.