Words can neither describe how much Max Solomon Lewis meant to the Promontory community nor how much we will miss him.
In the fall of 2019, we asked all candidates in the final round to prepare an answer to the question, “Which restaurant in the area would give you the best bang for your buck?” After doing exceptionally well on all other questions, Max had the audacity to simply answer, “Soup kitchen, because infinite bang for your buck.” He then smiled at us smugly, as if he had solved the question exactly like we wanted. In reality there was no right answer. We had allotted fifteen minutes for this question, expecting a thoughtful investment thesis with two or three main points and a thorough analysis of restaurant competitors. Once he realized this, Max apologized endlessly for simplifying the answer — he prepared no research because he thought the answer spoke for itself — but it was a good laugh for us. He had already proven his incredible sense of humor, thoughtfulness and intellectual curiosity. In this moment, he demonstrated humility, a trait central to his personality we later realized.
Max joined Promontory that fall, in a class filled with eleven other smart, inquisitive, thoughtful peers. During the rigorous 7-week BFT (Basic Financial Training), Max was the first to ask Nathan Nangia, our Head of Education at the time, to clarify when no one else dared. “Nathan, would you mind repeating the entire presentation but explain it slower?” and “Nathan, that made no sense.” His classmates relied on Max because he was unafraid to reveal his own confusion. His peer Miranda Lee later noted, “Max carried our class.”
Soon, Max graduated to a full-time Research Analyst position and his personality continued to shine among the club of thirty or so members. He would come into every general meeting and speaker event with tons of questions and energy. Victoria Gin noted that “in times of awkward zoom silence, you could always count on Max to ask the most intelligent questions or offer a comment that could make everyone laugh.” During the era of Zoom, Max would be the first on camera, saying hi and asking how people’s weeks were going, even when the mood was quiet and no one else was on camera.
When it came time for board turnover, Max ran for Head of Operations and his campaign statement ended with this message:
“The Head of Operations... acts as an auxiliary for the President and Head of Engagement, and in that capacity, I intend [to] help as much as possible behind the scenes. I will be the first to admit that I can be a chaotic person, often completing assignments right down to the wire, yet I also finish what I start and uphold my commitments to friends above all else.”
His campaign promise was well-kept. As our Head of Operations, Max fully dedicated all his energy to Promontory. For months, he bargained with local clothing vendors to lower prices on club gear, successfully getting the gear at a discount. Through his persistence, Max left such an impact that a vendor even reached out recently to offer his personal condolences. Even with all the pestering and haggling, the vendor said he knew Max’s heart was pure and dedicated to Promontory. Max was also the first to offer support whenever other board members seemed overworked, even when he didn’t know how to do the work. “I’ll figure it out, don’t worry,” he told Victoria, after taking on her burden of putting the entire Spring 2021 print together.
Max was who many, if not all of us, aspired to be. We could not have asked for a more earnest, thoughtful, humble, gentle, and kind human being to join our community. His fraternity, AEPi, recently called him the best of them. Max was the best of Promontory as well. We feel so extremely honored that he chose to spend much of his college experience with us.
Our means of honoring Max are three-fold: first, our Fall 2021 publication will honor Max’s work by re-publishing all of his research from his time as a New Recruit and Research Analyst; second, by organizing an annual 5K fundraiser run dedicated to a charity supported by Max and his family; and third, to advocate for safer transportation of UChicago students to and from downtown.
Max, we love you. We will do our best to honor you so that future generations of this club will continue to know your name and precious spirit. May your memory be a blessing for us all.