Dr. Gideon Lewis, ’00, is a renowned physician, surgeon, educator and entrepreneur, but one of his proudest professional moments was his recent naming to the UCF Foundation Board of Directors, he said.
“I have always strived to lead by example,” he said. “Serving on this board provides me with a much larger platform to encourage more people to give back to UCF.”
Dr. Lewis said he was an undecided and “very average” student when he transferred to UCF following a freshman year at the University of North Carolina, where he played tennis. His dream of becoming a professional athlete had foundered and he needed a new vision for his future. The late Dr. Budd Berringer helped him find one. “He took me under his wings as the pre-medical advisor at UCF at the time,” Dr. Lewis said.
Dr. Lewis graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Microbiology, and went on to study at the California College of Podiatric Medicine and undergo extensive advanced surgical training. Today, he shares a practice in his native Orlando with his father, family practice physician Dr. Gideon G. Lewis.
The younger Dr. Lewis’s reputation for comprehensive foot and ankle care, including complex reconstruction surgeries, draws elite and professional athletes to his office. His website includes testimonials from Olympic medalists, a professional triathlete, and Hall of Fame water skier.
“I am a very competitive person and I want to make sure the athletes who are my patients can compete and perform,” he said.
With all his success, Dr. Lewis still recalls the lessons of Dr. Berringer: Value every positive relationship; treasure each memorable experience, and welcome every opportunity to provide service to others. “I have an obligation to pay forward these lessons and never forget where I came from,” he said.
That has led him to deepen his connections with UCF, which he calls “my universe.” He is an assistant professor with the UCF College of Medicine and serves as Director of the UCF Pre-Medical Surgical Internship Program, which he founded to help students prepare for medical school. He emails his students a weekly newsletter, in which he dispenses news about students, medicine and research, as well as items of interest about the university.
He also is a generous supporter of the Wayne Densch Center for Student-Athlete Leadership, which will help athletes succeed in academics and to compete for opportunities after they graduate.
“Dr. Lewis brings an incredible level of enthusiasm and dedication to our board,” said Phyllis Klock, chair of the UCF Foundation board. “He is currently the board’s only medical professional, and I am confident that his passion for UCF will encourage others in this field to support the university as it strives toward even greater prominence.”
Dr. Lewis’s passion for health and wellness also extends beyond the examining room, operating room and classroom. Working with his sister, he co-founded Go Chia! with recipes they developed in her kitchen. The foods and beverages are now available in more than 3,000 stores nationwide.
Asked how he manages to accomplish so much, Dr. Lewis cites two guiding wisdoms — choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life and surround yourself only with people who will lift you higher.
“I know it might sound crazy, but there’s not a day that ever feels like work to me,” he said. “In addition, I’m almost overwhelmingly blessed with supportive people in my life. I never take any of them for granted.”
Dr. Lewis’s support of UCF is an example of his own dedication to lifting up others. He is a champion of the mission of President John Hitt and others to elevate UCF to the ranks of greatness in higher education. That, he said, translates to more opportunity for students.
“UCF stands for opportunity,” he said. “For anyone living in Central Florida, there is no reason not to donate money or time to this amazing university. The continued success of this institution will have a ripple effect from which everyone can directly benefit.”