New York, NY (December 10, 2012) – Filipino-American community leader and New York businesswoman Loida Nicolas Lewis recently gathered an overflow crowd of luminaries from the business and political worlds from across America to the prestigious Harvard Club in New York City to honor the 25th Anniversary of her late husband Reginald F. Lewis’ landmark Billion-Dollar Acquisition of the Beatrice International Foods company which covered businesses of 64 companies in 31 countries.
The celebrated 1987 leveraged buyout made Mr. Lewis the first African American CEO of a multi-billion dollar, Fortune 500 corporation. It was the biggest deal spearheaded by an African-American businessman at the time, and is a feat that hasn’t been duplicated since.
Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins served as the Event’s Honorary Chair, while CNN contributor and author Roland S. Martin served as the Master of Ceremonies. Medical Research Innovator and legendary capitalist Michael Milken delivered the evening’s keynote and shared how Reg Lewis was a role model who worked for, lived and shared the American Dream
The exclusive dinner event, sponsored by JP Morgan, American Express, GE Asset Management, and Morgan Stanley among others, attracted nearly 300 guests and generated over $350,000 worth of donations including about $55,000 from a silent auction of bids for lunches with Michael Milken, Loida Nicolas Lewis, Mayor David Dinkins and Leon Black, the Chairman of Apollo Global Management who recently won the auction for the Edvard Munch painting, “The Scream,” with a bid of $120 million.
The first bid for the lunch came from the Philippines via text for the lunch with Leon Black from Manuel V. Pangilinan, the chairman of PLDT, Metro Pacific and First Pacific in Hong Kong.
All proceeds from the special event benefited the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. A Smithsonian affiliate, ‘The Lewis Museum is the largest African American museum in the East Cost, occupying an 82,000 square-foot facility.
The evening’s guests were entertained with performances by Broadway stars Ali Ewoldt, who played Maria in West Side Story’s National Tour, and Adam Jacobs, who starred as Simba in The Lion King on Broadway. The Harvard Club’s ambiance was amped by the creations of the celebrated NY-based Filipino-Chinese event designer, Jerry Sibal.
As the dinner came to an end, the evening’s host, Loida Nicolas Lewis, who lost her husband at the age of 50 in 1993 and continues to carry out his legacy, shared a ringing piece of advice, ”Love fiercely, because life is too short.”
Commemorative Edition of his Best-selling Bio and other books
In Commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Birth of the Billion Dollar Empire as well as Mr. Lewis’ 70th Birthday Anniversary, a Special Commemorative Issue of Reginald F. Lewis’ Autobiography “Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun” is being reissued with an introduction from his daughter , Christina Lewis Halpern, a commemorative DVD on Mr. Lewis’ legacy, and essays about RFL’s impact from today’s African American Founders and CEOs including American Express head Kenneth Chenault and R. Donahue Peebles and billionaire Robert L. Johnson.
Other related books that were released at the event are Mr. Lewis’ daughter, Christina Lewis Halpern’s, “Lonely At the Top, ” which talks about his days at Harvard and his influences on her life; his high school and college classmate Lin Hart’s book, “Reginald F. Lewis Before TLC Beatrice,” and a set of interviews with individuals who knew Mr. Lewis or were inspired by him by TV journalist Ponchitta Pierce, “Keep Going, No Matter What; The Reginald F. Lewis Legacy: 20 Years Later.”
For more information about, about the man, the museum, or the book, please visit, or

Bob and Marianita Perlstein

L-R: Butch Meily, Edwin Josue, Pam Meily, Carissa Villacorta, Andrew Grabato, Jerry Sibal.

L-R: Londell McMillan, Loida Nicolas Lewis and Roland Martin

Mike Milken speaking about Reg Lewis and the American Dream.

Shawn Baldwin, Mayor David Dinkins, Loida Nicolas Lewis

Jerry Sibal did the event design for the RFL Benefit.

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