Senior fellow, director of International Relations Institute now 2008 Kansan of the Year

March 10, 2009 by Mario A. Montes NMSU News Center

Ambassador Delano M. Lewis, founding director of the International Relations Institute at New Mexico State University (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Delano Lewis, senior fellow and director of New Mexico State University’s International Relations Institute, has earned the distinction of 2008 Kansan of the Year. The award is given every year and includes a long list of prominent residents and former residents of Kansas. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

It’s difficult to find a starting point to describe the accomplishments of Delano Lewis, but his recognition as 2008 Kansan of the Year is his latest.

A senior fellow at New Mexico State University and the director of the International Relations Institute, Lewis has acquired an assortment of honors and held very high-profile jobs from U.S. ambassador to South Africa from 1999 to 2001 to leading a telecommunications company, CEO of National Public Radio and director of the Peace Corps in Uganda, East Africa.

Born Nov. 12, 1938, in Arkansas City, Kan., Lewis shares Kansan of the Year honors with such distinguished Kansans as Pulitzer Prize winners, former governors, senators, congressmen, military generals, scholars, businessmen and leading sports figures.

“I’m very proud and honored to receive this recognition,” Lewis said. “I am pleased to be among other distinguished honorees.”

As the director of the International Relations Institute, Lewis has helped bring recognition to the university by helping coordinate lead conferences that have brought distinguished scholars and diplomatic corps experts to discuss international issues, including water resources and immigration problems. In spring of 2008, Lewis brought Gov. Bill Richardson and a host of former ambassadors to NMSU to discuss border security issues.

In November 2008, Lewis was instrumental in bringing former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson to speak at a fundraising dinner for NMSU’s Model UN team. The dinner was sold out and gave the Model UN team the necessary funds to compete in China the very same year.

Outside of the university, Lewis stays busy as a board member of the Colgate Palmolive Company, the Eastman Kodak Company, and the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C, and The American Institutes for Research, also in Washington.

Lewis received his bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of Kansas, and a law degree from Washburn University School of Law. He has received numerous honorary doctorate degrees from various universities.

Lewis lives in Mesilla, N.M, with his wife, Gayle. He has four sons and 11 grandchildren.

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