Remembering Ron H. Brown
Entry: Bill Guyton, World Cocoa Foundation
This morning I attended a tribute breakfast to Ron H. Brown, hosted by Constituency for Africa (CFA) in Washington, DC. Ron Brown was the first African-American appointed U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the first to serve as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. At the time of his death in 1996, he was a figure of global prominence, respected for his intelligence, and leadership. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Brown in Ghana during a reception held in his honor that same year.
Photo: Ron H. Brown
Through the leadership of the Brown family, friends and business associates, the Ron Brown Scholar Program (www.ronbrown.org) was formed 10 years ago. Today the program awards twenty $40,000 college scholarships annually to extraordinary African-American high school seniors. No restrictions are placed on the students' choices of school or discipline. To date, the program has awarded over 221 scholarships, with Scholars studying at colleges and universities across the United States. Scholars' interests range from medicine to public policy, from the creative arts to business. Many of these talented young people have a strong interest in Africa and several have traveled to work on development efforts there.
During the breakfast, we heard from Michael Mallory, President of the Ron Brown Scholar Program, and then from two Ron Brown Scholars who are now leaders in their communities. I was humbled by their talents and enthusiasm to help make the world a better place. Michael Brown, Ron’s son, gave the closing remarks, congratulating the young people for helping to maintain the legacy and optimism of his father. I thank the Constituency of Africa for organizing the Ron Brown Series each year in September and look forward to the other events planned this week.