We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Lewis Seagull, a longtime current adjunct faculty member of the English Department and labor leader on campus. Lew, who has taught at the university since Fall 2006, passed away on July 15 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 70 years old.
Lew was a dedicated teacher of Fundamentals of Communication and continued to teach as recently as the Spring 2023 semester, even after falling ill. In a message to union members, Barbara Hildner, a member of the English Department faculty and President of AFT Local 1839, praised Lew for recognizing the importance of this initial course for students and his determination in helping them to make the transition to college. It was noted that Lew worked hard to make certain that his students learned the critical and writing skills essential to their academic success.
Additionally, Lew served as Vice President for Adjunct Faculty for AFT Local 1839 for many years, and was a steadfast advocate for the importance of adjunct faculty to the university and supporting their work. A staunch labor supporter, he also represented adjunct faculty at State negotiations.
While Lew earned a B.A. in English from Rutgers University in 1974, it wasn’t until later in life he made a career pivot to teaching, after beginning his career in law. After attending Seton Hall Law School in Newark, he served as Passaic County Assistant Prosecutor for five years before going into private practice. He later joined a law practice where he specialized in personal injury and medical malpractice before he practiced law as a solo practitioner for 15 years.
Committed to teaching, he earned a master’s in English Writing from Kean University in 2015 and would teach English at several New Jersey state colleges — primarily at NJCU.
A native of Verona, N.J. and resident of Westfield, N.J. since 1986, he is survived by his wife of 49 years, Gail, sons Matthew and Jordan, daughter Lindsay, and a granddaughter.
Hildner said “those who knew Lewis well appreciated his sharp intelligence and original perspective on the world, as well as his energy and ironic wit. During the final weeks of the spring semester, Lewis spoke openly and courageously about his situation.”
Lew’s commitment to the university community and his fellow adjunct faculty will be deeply missed. A memorial service will be held at the Memorial Funeral Home, located at 155 South Avenue, Fanwood, N.J. on Saturday, August 19, 2023, at 3 p.m.