Lewis Atwater Sr. became the Institute of Government’s first janitor shortly after it moved into its quarters on Franklin Street in 1940. He moved with the institute to its present location on Raleigh Road, and was supervisor of five other employees when he retired in 1975. He was cited:
Painstaking attention to every detail, unflagging patience under pressure, willingness and capacity to grow as the Institute of Government grew in size and complexity ― all these marked the 35-year career of its first janitor. Atwater accepted ever-increasing responsibility for support services, including housekeeping, mail-handling and duplicating and binding facilities, and trained and supervised a permanent staff of five as well as University students working part time. A durable friend to his colleagues, always willing to give up his personal convenience in the interest of their and his work, it was particularly appropriate that Lewis Atwater, Sr., received a C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award in the 50th year of the Institute of Government.