Delano & Gayle Lewis

Delano & Gayle Lewis

donor plaque
Delano & Gayle  Lewis


Delano E. Lewis, jd '63 and honorary degree '00, and Gayle (Jones) Lewis met as students at the University of Kansas. Both natives of Kansas, Delano grew up in Kansas City and Gayle in Topeka. In June of 1960, they married after Delano completed his B.A. at the University of Kansas and Gayle completed her B.S. at Prairie View University in Texas.

During the summer of 1960, Delano worked on the Santa Fe Railroad as they prepared for their move to Topeka. In September 1960, Delano began the study of law at Washburn University School of Law. They lived in married student housing on Washburn Terrace. While studying law as a full time student, Delano was employed full time as a childcare worker at the Children's Hospital of the Menninger Clinic. In November 1963, Delano began work as an attorney with the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. In 1965, he began work as an attorney with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In 1966, he accepted a position with the United States Peace Corps serving as Peace Corps staff in Nigeria until 1967 and in Uganda from 1967 -1969. He continued work with the Peace Corps as Head of the East and Southern Africa Division, after returning to the United States. In 1969, he became Legislative Assistant to Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts. He held this position until 1971 when he became Chief of Staff to Delegate Walter Fauntroy of Washington, D.C. 

In 1973, he became an executive of the Chesapeake and Potomac telephone company in Washington, D.C., a subsidiary of American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T). He remained with the telephone company for twenty-one years becoming an officer and subsequently vice president of the company's District of Columbia operations. After the divestiture of the operating companies of AT&T, Delano became an officer of Bell Atlantic. In 1990, he assumed the position of President and CEO of Bell Atlantic's District of Columbia operations. In 1994, Delano was appointed President of National Public Radio where he served until 1998. Capping a career of thirty-five years, Delano was nominated and confirmed as United States Ambassador to South Africa by President Clinton.

Delano and Gayle have worked together to build a healthy social environment in the communities where they find themselves. For Gayle this often extended to working outside the home in various social service sectors. She worked with a non-profit agency providing basic social services to District of Columbia department of correction inmates. She worked in the schools where their sons attended as a support person wherever needed. In 1978 she was admitted to study in the Education of Parish Service program at Trinity College, Washington, D.C. She completed the two-year certificate program with an emphasis on social service. After completing the Trinity program, she trained at Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C. to become a hospice care worker and eventually became part of the training team of "Crossroads," an in-home hospice care program. 

Most recently, Gayle has completed writing the story "Dear Family, Letters from Nigeria," an account of their family's Peace Corps experience in Nigeria. Currently, she is writing a similar story of their two year Peace Corps experience in Uganda. Accompanying Delano to his Ambassadorial post in South Africa, she spent much of her time learning about early childhood education there and working to convene women to discuss universal problems such as health, education and economic development. 

Delano and Gayle now reside in Mesilla, N.M.  Delano was a senior fellow and founding director of the International Relations Institute at New Mexico State University ( NMSU). Gayle was an appointed commissioner of the Mesilla Planning, Zoning, and Historical Appropriateness Commission. She continues with her love of writing and reading and is an active member of a monthly writers group. Delano continues his service on the board of the Colgate Palmolive Company. Most recently, he joined the board of the American Institutes for Research. Delano and Gayle are the proud parents of four adult sons and eleven grandchildren.