Delano Lewis has come a long way from his $6-a-week job as a waiter in a Kansas University sorority house.
President Clinton announced on Monday his intent to nominate Lewis, a native Kansan and KU graduate, to be U.S. ambassador to South Africa.
"I am certain he will be successful as the American ambassador to South Africa," said KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway, who has collaborated on projects at KU with Lewis.
"I believe we should feel fortunate that as a country we have Delano Lewis representing us."
Lewis was born in Arkansas City and grew up in Kansas City, Kan. He received a bachelor's degree in political science and history at KU in 1960 to become the first member of his family to graduate college. He also earned a Washburn University law degree.
He received KU's highest honor, the distinguished service citation, in 1994.
"KU provided me with a wonderful education and the ability to take my first steps in the business world," he said during a campus visit.
Lewis, 60, served as National Public Radio's chief executive officer from 1994 to 1998. He was the first black to lead the network, which has more than 500 affiliates, including KANU at KU.
Lewis, who lives in New Mexico, could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
Before joining NPR, he worked 21 years at C&P Telephone of Washington, D.C. He began his career in government in 1963 as a U.S. Department of Justice lawyer and later joined the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
He served in the Peace Corps in Nigeria and Uganda from 1966 to 1969. Upon his return, he was director of the corps' East and Southern Africa Division.
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