Delano E. Lewis
2008 Kansan of the Year

Delano E. Lewis was born on November 12,1938 in Arkansas City, Kansas, and was raised in Kansas City, Kansas. He attended Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kansas.

While at Sumner, he led the Sumner Band as drum major, was a member of the National Honor Society and was elected Supreme Court Justice at Kansas Boys State in the summer of 1955. He graduated from Sumner High School in 1956 and enrolled at Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas in the fall semester of 1956. During the summer months, he worked as a waiter on the Great Northern Railroad from St. Paul, Minnesota to Seattle, Washington. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from the University of Kansas in 1960. In 1963, he was awarded the degree of Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Washburn University School of Law. During his study of Law at Washburn, he worked full time as a Child Care Worker at the Children’s Hospital of the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. He was admitted to the Kansas Bar in 1963 and subsequently, to the bar of the District of Columbia.

In 1963, Delano Lewis was appointed as a staff attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. In 1965, he joined the Office of Analysis and Advice of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. From 1966 through 1969, he served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Africa, holding positions of Associate Director in Nigeria and Country Director in Uganda. From 1969 to 1971, he was Legislative Assistant to Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, and from 1971 to 1973, he was Administrative Assistant to Congressman Walter E. Fauntroy of the District of Columbia

In 1973, Delano Lewis joined C&P Telephone Company, then a subsidiary of AT&T Corporation, as Public Affairs Manager. Subsequently, he held positions of increasing authority in the company. After divestiture of the operating companies from AT&T in 1984, the company became a subsidiary of Bell Atlantic. In July 1988 Delano Lewis was named President of the Washington DC company of Bell Atlantic and in January 1990 he became Chief Executive Officer of that company.

In January 1994, Delano Lewis joined National Public Radio (NPR) as its President and Chief Executive Officer. He also served as Chairman of the NPR Foundation. National Public Radio is a primary supplier of news, information and cultural programming to its many member and associate stations.

Delano Lewis served on the boards of directors of Colgate Palmolive Company, Black Entertainment Television, The Halliburton Company and Eastman Kodak Company. He is a former Chairman of the board of The Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation, a major philanthropic organization in the nation's capital. He is an honorary board member of Mainstream, a national board member of Africare and an emeritus member of the board of The Washington Performing Arts Society. In 1996, he was elected as a Trustee of the Menninger Foundation.

In December 1992, as a participant in President-elect Clinton's Economic Summit, Delano Lewis promoted a shared vision of economic revitalization for mutual benefit by American business and labor. At the invitation of Vice President Al Gore, he served as co-chair of the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIIAC) from 1994-1996, whose membership consisted of business, industry and local government leaders. The NIIAC's role was to provide recommendations to the Administration on how best to develop America's communications network.

Among his many honors and awards, Delano Lewis was named a 1978 "Washingtonian of the Year " by Washingtonian magazine, and was awarded The Catholic University of America's President's Medal. Also in 1978, he was appointed by District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry, Jr. to serve as Chairman of his election transition committee. In 1987, he was invested in The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Federal Association, USA. In 1988 he was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Marymount University, and in 1991 he received a Doctorate of Public Service from The George Washington University School of Business and Public Management. In 1992, he received a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Bowie State University for his leadership in community service. He was named a "Kansan by Distinction" by The Topeka Capital-Journal in 1993. In 1994, Lewis received the Distinguished Alumni Citation from his alma mater, The University of Kansas and was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Barry University in Miami, Florida. He also received a special award from Women of Washington, an advocacy group, for his support of women and issues of importance to women, in 1994. In 1995, he received an honorary Doctorate degree from Kent State University in Kent, OH. In 1996, he received an honorary degree from Lafayette College in Lafayette, Pennsylvania. In 1997, he was the recipient of a 1997 Distinguished Leadership Award and an Amnesty International USA Media Spotlight Award. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He also was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, in Carbondale, Illinois. In 2000, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from his Alma Mater, Washburn University School of Law. In 2003 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Washburn University School of Law, Alumni Association.

During 1988, Delano Lewis served as President of The Greater Washington Board of Trade, using the office to promote regional solutions to metropolitan area problems. In 1992, he was named the Board's "Man of the Years" in tribute to his commitment to regional cooperation. Lewis is also a former member of the Council Against Drug Abuse, a consortium of local business leaders and medical professionals. In 1992, he was Chairman of the United Way Campaign, leading the Washington metropolitan area campaign to record contributions.

Delano Lewis has been active in many civic and public service projects in the nation's capital. He is the past president of several groups such as The Cultural Alliance of Washington, Friendship House and the United Planning Organization. He has served on the boards of trustees of The Catholic University of America, Mount Vernon College, Group Hospitalization, The United Negro College Fund, The Capital Children' s Museum and The Greater Washington Research Center.

On August 1, 1998, he retired from National Public Radio and relocated from the Washington DC area to Las Cruces, New Mexico. He continued to serve on the Boards of Colgate Palmolive Company, Eastman Kodak, The Haliburton Co. and Black Entertainment Television. He has consulted with and lectured for many groups and organizations including, Amoco Oil Co., The African American Group of Lincoln Life Insurance Co. and The Developmental Schools Foundation.

In June 1999, Delano Lewis was nominated by President Clinton to be the United States Ambassador to The Republic of South Africa. After confirmation by the United States Senate on November 10th , 1999, Lewis resigned all board directorships. He assumed his ambassadorship on Dec. 22nd 1999 in Pretoria, South Africa. Delano Lewis served in South Africa until his retirement from diplomatic service on July 13th 2001.

Upon his return to New Mexico after Diplomatic service, Delano Lewis was re-elected to the boards of The Colgate Palmolive Company and Eastman KODAK Company. In September 2006, he assumed the position of Senior Fellow at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with the responsibility of establishing an Institute for International Relations. In 2007, her was elected to the Board of Directors of the Meridian International Center in Washington, DC. In July 2008, he was elected to the Board of Directors of The American Institutes for Research, in Washington, DC.

Delano Lewis and his wife Gayle reside in Mesilla,New Mexico. The Lewises have four adult sons and eleven grandchildren.