The Lewis Sexton Scholarship was established in 2016 by the Morris Foundation in honor of Lewis Sexton, former President of the United Auto Works (UAW) Local 862 and grandfather of Morris Foundation cofounder Nate Morris. Each year, the scholarship provides three awards of $5,000 to children and legal wards of UAW 862 members or retirees who plan to attend a four-year college or university in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
About Lewis Sexton
For six decades, Lewis Sexton has been an influential voice for organized labor and an advocate for the working families of Kentucky.
Sexton began his career in 1954 at the Ford Motor Company, serving in various roles within the assembly plants of Kentucky. There he discovered his passion for serving the membership of the UAW. Early on, he was elected to serve two terms on the Election Committee, and in 1965 he was elected to serve as Bargaining Committeeman. In 1971, Sexton was elected President of UAW 862 and served for 10 years.
During Sexton’s tenure, the union made progressive gains on key issues. In negotiations in 1973, the UAW won the “30-and-out” provision, which allowed workers to retire after 30 years under any circumstances. The UAW established a 3% pay increase each year, an improved cost of living formula, and substantial increases to membership health benefits. After his service as President, Sexton remained committed to union members and their families by serving as a delegate to the UAW National Constitutional Convention from 1966 to 2010.
After a 55-year career at Ford, Sexton retired and continued his service to the UAW by being elected by the retired members to represent them on the Executive Board. He currently represents 5,000 retirees and surviving spouses. In addition to his service to organized labor, Sexton is a longtime member and supporter of the Fraternal Order of Police and served as a Jefferson County Deputy Sheriff. He has worked with several charitable organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the American Red Cross, Kosair Charities, United Way of Kentucky, and Adopt a Child.
Sexton was born in Columbia, Kentucky. He proudly served his country in the United States Army as Tank Commander, training at Fort Knox. Today he remains a tireless advocate for Kentucky’s veterans and their families. He is the proud father of two and grandfather of three.