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Release Date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 1:47 PM
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Media Contact:
Sholnn Freeman
Communications Specialist
Former U.S. Rep. Ron Dellums Named Visiting Fellow
at Howard University Ronald W. Walters Center
Rep. Ron Dellums

WASHINGTON (September 3, 2013) – The Howard University Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center announces the selection of Ronald V. Dellums, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and mayor of Oakland, CA, as the institute’s first visiting fellow. Dellums gained national prominence through four decades of public service and as a successful leader in congressional struggles against South African apartheid.

Through the visiting fellow program, former elected or appointed officials are selected to share expertise with the Ronald Walters Center and the campus community. Dellums will present lectures on topics that include political science, African studies and social work. He will also participate in informal sessions with students interested in public service careers.

“My hope is that I can establish dialogue with young people,” Congressman Dellums said. “I hope to impart and communicate passion about the victories we won in freedom, peace, justice and equality. Young people need to occupy that turf and declare that we are not going backward.”

Dellums grew up in West Oakland, attended Oakland schools and earned a bachelor of arts degree from San Francisco State University and a masters of social work from the University of California, Berkeley. He served two years of active duty in the United States Marine Corps. In 1967, he was elected to the Berkeley City Council, and in 1970 to the House of Representatives. He represented Oakland, Berkeley, and surrounding areas in Congress for 28 years, rising to become chair of the House Committee on the District of Columbia and then chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

Dellums was initially elected because of his opposition to the Vietnam War; over time he became a recognized expert on military affairs and foreign policy. From his first days in Congress, he authored bills to withhold support from the South African regime because of its support for apartheid. It was a Dellums bill that passed and made sanctions and divestment U.S. national policy after Congress overrode a veto by President Ronald Reagan. This divestment pressure helped the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa to win the release of Nelson Mandela and led to his election as president of democratic South Africa.

“We are proud that Congressman Dellums will join us as the inaugural visiting fellow,” said Provost and Chief Academic Officer Wayne A.I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “The campus community will gain tremendously from his insight and experience as a policy-maker, an activist, legislator and leader. He will also be a key contributor to the Ronald Walters Center as the institute positions itself as a focal point for public policy research, publication and leadership development.”

Dellums has written several books, including a recent autobiography, Lying Down With the Lions: A Public Life from the Streets of Oakland to the Halls of Power, as well as Defense Sense: The Search for a Rational Military Policy. Since leaving Congress, he has been president of an international management company and a leading spokesman on the tragedy of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and throughout the world. He was chair of President Clinton’s Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS. Dellums also served as mayor of Oakland from 2007 to 2010.

As a visiting fellow at the Ronald Walters Center, he will meet with members of Congress to promote the Walters Center and engagement between Howard University and members of Congress on policy matters. He will help plan a series of policy sessions that highlight issues relevant to the University and the African American community in general. Dellums, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), will also help define the relationship between Howard’s Moorland Spingarn Research Center and the CBC on archival matters related to the CBC’s historical papers.

The Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center was established by Howard University to serve as a focal point for research, publications, service, policy discussions and leadership development activities in areas involving engagement of African Americans in the U.S. political process and U.S. national and foreign policy. The Walters Center is an interdisciplinary center that will preserve the legacy of Dr. Ronald Walters, a scholar-activist who conducted research, served as a mentor to students and political leaders, provided strategic direction for political candidates, wrote numerous books and served as a political commentator. It is envisioned that the Walters Center will become the premier academic center for research and publications on policy issues that directly affect the global Black community.


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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