Peter B. Lewis ’55

"(His) contributions to Princeton are legendary. He was not only a benefactor but also a visionary ..."

— President Christopher L. Eisgruber, ‘83

The Lewis Center for the Arts is named in honor of Peter B. Lewis (1933 – 2013), a member of Princeton’s Class of 1955, a former Trustee, and one of the University’s most committed and generous supporters.

Lewis was a  business leader who built Progressive Insurance from a company of just 40 employees into the third largest auto insurance company in the United States. But his legacy as a philanthropist may be even more distinctive than his career achievements. As a champion of Princeton, Lewis’s contributions are evident across campus and have impacted many academic disciplines, from genomics to contemporary art.

His 2006 lead gift of $101 million to endow the Lewis Center for the Arts followed closely on the heels of then President Shirley M. Tilghman’s Arts Initiative, which documented the needs and opportunities for the creative and performing arts at Princeton.

Peter’s gift will give us an opportunity to establish Princeton more fully as a national and international destination for the very best students with talents and interests in the arts. This is also an opportunity to ensure that we offer students pursuing concentrations outside the arts the kind of meaningful artistic and cultural resources and experiences considered essential elements of an exceptional undergraduate education.

— President Emerita Shirley M. Tilghman

Collected here are some photographs from Mr. Lewis’s visit to Princeton for a celebration and naming ceremony of the Lewis Center for the Arts in 2007: