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Mary Ellen Lewis joined the Colorado Alpha Chapter at the University of Denver, Denver, Colorado in 1956. She served as President of the chapter in 1958-59. She graduated from the University of Denver in 1959, with a B.S. in Business Administration. She credits Phi Chi Theta for her earning a 4-year degree instead of an Associates’ degree.
In 1959, she joined the Denver Alumni Chapter. Then in 1961, she applied to the State Department’s Foreign Service. She was accepted and for the next 5 years, she was assigned to: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Pakistan. She began her foreign-service career as a Senior Secretary and was promoted during her tenure to Assistant Supervisor, then Supervisor of Communications and Records. Upon her return in 1966, she immediately rejoined the Denver Alumni Chapter. She served in all officer positions at the chapter level.
In 1973, she became active in Phi Chi Theta at the national level – District Director, 1973 - 78, Vice President for Expansion, 1978 – 80, Vice President for Internal Affairs, 1980 - 1982, National President, 1982 – 1984, Chair of the Policy Board, 1984 – 1986, Vice President of Alumni Affairs, 1989 – 1992, Vice President of Expansion, 2008 - 2012. During the 2012 National Meeting, Mary Ellen was appointed Policy Board Chair.
Upon returning from overseas in 1966, Mary Ellen applied for a position at the University of Colorado Denver. She was an Administrative Officer in the College of Business. In addition to her regular duties, she taught a course entitled "Managing Individuals and Work Groups from 1985 – 1998. Taking advantage of the tuition break, she received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration, Human Resources, in 1985. She served as advisor to the Gamma Iota Chapter in the College of Business from 1972 - 1998. She retired in 1997, but is extremely busy with University of Colorado Alumni Association committee work and fundraising.
She has kept busy with contract work, but is extremely pleased with being a volunteer at the Denver Hospice, in Medical Records. In addition, she is a Trustee of the Phi Chi Theta Educational Foundation, where she serves as Treasurer and Scholarship Chair.