Lewis Rice '74SVC

As Vice President of Global Security and Trademark Protection for one of the leading cosmetic companies in the world, Lewis Rice Jr.’74SVC knows first hand about being a member of a global society. Lewis is responsible for leading a worldwide team of security executives in charge of the protection and safety of all Estée Lauder Companies’ employees and products. He says that in order to make yourself marketable after graduation, students must take advantage of the study abroad opportunities at St. John’s: “Most companies are now expanding into global markets, so in order for students to be successful in any field they have to take advantage of every global opportunity presented to them. Global experience says to prospective employers that you have no problem embracing new cultures and are successful at adapting to change.”

Prior to his position at Estée Lauder, Lewis was a Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  During his 26-year career with the DEA, he developed expertise in national program areas, policy and management.  In 1998, he was awarded the rank of Meritorious Executive in the Senior Executive Service of the DEA by former President William J. Clinton. However, it was his experiences at St. John’s University's College of Professional Studies that made his career in criminal justice possible, “It was at a St. John’s career fair that I was first introduced to DEA.  The agents came to recruit college graduates and I felt prepared because I knew that my undergraduate courses and professors had prepared me for the job as a special agent.”

During his career with the DEA, Lewis held numerous assignments in Kingston, Jamaica; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; and Detroit. In 1997, he was promoted to the position of Special Agent in Charge of the DEA office in New York.  Outside of DEA Headquarters in Washington D.C., the New York office is the largest DEA Office with a staff of more than 800 employees and an operational budget of more than 50 million dollars.  Lewis was responsible for the management of all DEA’s investigative, administrative, training and drug prevention programs for the State of New York.

Described by St. John’s University in one of its publications as an “exceptional alumnus,” Lewis is held up to present and future students as an example that hard work and dedication will yield success in the future. He demonstrates this dedication when he says, “ Criminal Justice is an extremely rewarding career because your job is to help people and there’s always a good feeling associated with helping people for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do.”