Welcome Message from Ambassador Dawson

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.


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