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January 29, 2001


Contact: Tim Woodhull


Dr. James E. Lyons, Sr., president of California State University, Dominguez Hills honored with U.S. Peace Corps Award

Dr. James E. Lyons, Sr., president of California State University, Dominguez Hills, has been awarded the prestigious Franklin H. Williams Award, named after the veteran diplomat, ambassador, educator, civil rights activist, and Peace Corps director in Africa.

The award will be presented to Lyons during ceremonies February 21 at U. S. Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. Lyons is the Western region recipient.

"I am deeply humbled and highly honored," said Lyons, learning of the honor. He spent his tour of duty in the Peace Corps in the late 1960s, serving as a teacher and coach of the high school track team in Manta, Manabi, Ecuador.

"The Peace Corps forever changed my life," Lyons said. "It affirmed what I learned when I was young and growing up: Every time we reach out to others, we change the world.  And, every time I helped others, I benefited, too. Ultimately, I think I gained far more out of the Peace Corps than I was able to contribute, and now here they are, still reaching out to me."

John Hartley, Peace Corps regional manager, said the Franklin H. Williams Award is given those who served admirably in the Peace Corps and then serve their communities upon their return.

Moreover, Hartley noted, Williams is noted for his leadership in helping advance educational opportunities for American minorities and Africans. His posts during the past half-century have included assistant to Thurgood Marshall, then special counsel to the NAACP; West Coast director, NAACP; assistant attorney general, state of California; African regional director, U.S. Peace Corps; U.S. representative to the United Nations; U.S. ambassador to Ghana; and, director, The Urban Center, Columbia University.

Today, Williams serves as president and trustee of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, a philanthropic organization whose assistance includes educational and business opportunities for minorities.     

"The Franklin Williams Award acknowledges Dr. Lyons" service with the Peace Corps and his continued service to the community where he lives and works," Hartley said. "He passes muster. In fact, he more than passes muster."

Further information can be obtained by contacting Tim Woodhull, director, Media Relations, (310) 243-3367.