Ambassador Horace G. Dawson, Jr., Ph. D., LL. D

For as far back as I can remember, I wanted to do something special, to be special. As time went on, I wanted also to help others achieve. I trace these feelings back to my parents who encouraged me and all of my brothers and sisters to work hard, to study, to explore. I went on from my early days in Augusta, Ga., where I attended both elementary and secondary schools, to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where I earned my bachelor’s degree with honors. My undergraduate education was interrupted by service in World War II, a two-year interlude which took me to Europe and the Pacific. There was no let up in ambition, which enabled me to leave the military as a senior non-commissioned officer.


After Lincoln, and aspiring to be a journalist or a teacher, I earned a master’s degree in English at Columbia University and began my teaching career at Southern University in Baton Rouge, moving on from there to North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University). It was during my tenure at NCC that I went on to earn a doctorate degree at University of Iowa and also the United States diplomatic service. In this career, I went from entry level, with service in Uganda, Nigeria, Liberia, and the Philippines to become U.S. Ambassador to Botswana, an appointment made by President Jimmy Carter.

Upon retiring from Foreign Service, I was invited to return to education, joining the faculty of Howard University, where I founded the international affairs program on a $3 million grant from the Kellogg Foundation. In the center honoring Dr. Ralph Bunche, I directed the international affairs programs at Howard for the next twenty years, focusing on racial diversity issues. Among them is a program to promote greater diversity in diplomatic service, which the U.S. State Department funds with $2.5 million annual grant.

Throughout my career, I was never satisfied to remain “in place” and, as indicated, I wished also to be and do something special and to help others achieve – students, colleagues, people in distant lands and cultures. As my parents well knew, education was the key.


That is why I am especially honored to be associated with this important initiative and am proud that the founders have endowed it with my name.


Olympian Samyr Laine

Many would consider Samyr Laine to be a modern day renaissance man and he brings several talents to the table while representing the Scholars Program as the official Spokesperson. He is Haiti's national record holder in the triple jump and has represented the country at 6 World Championships, 2 Pan American Games and finished in 11th place at the 2012 Olympic Games ‎in London.


Samyr earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, his masters degree from The University of Texas, and his law degree from Georgetown University. Since law school Samyr has excelled as a world class athlete but has also been admitted to the New York State Bar Association, written two books, and is an adjunct professor at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. He regularly travels the country to speak to audiences on his experiences, his motivation and business philosohpies and a range of other topics.

As the counsel of government affairs for Monumental Sports and Entertainment, Samyr directly influences policy and legislative direction in Washington, DC and at times even on a federal level. Jump for Haiti (, Samyr's non-profit organization, is set to launch in earnest in the coming months with the mission of positively influencing children in Haiti through sports development and educational enrichment.