- W. George Pinnell Award for Outstanding Service (1995)
- President's Award for Distinguished Teaching (1991)
John Lewis received a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1979. During his tenure at IU South Bend (IUSB), he received the IUSB Distinguished Teaching Award in 1990, both the President’s Award for Teaching and the Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching (FACET) Award in 1991, the W. George Pinnell Award for Outstanding Service in 1995, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Faculty Advising Award in 2005. Lewis retired from IU in 2005 as professor emeritus of political science. The IUSB’s Department of Political Science confers the John M. Lewis Award for Civic Engagement annually to students in the department.