Cummings remembers Ron Walters, political strategist and U Md. institute head
Ron Walters, an important figure in the history of modern American politics, was remembered Saturday by one of his many students, Baltimore Congressman Elijah E. Cummings.
"I will be forever grateful to Dr. Walters for seeing qualities in me that I did not see in myself," said Cummings, who studied under Walters as an undergrad at Howard University in Washington and described him as a mentor.
A scholar and strategist, Walters, who had cancer, died Friday night at age 72. He was on the faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he served as director of the African American Leadership Institute.
A perceptive analyst of politics and political behavior, Walters was perhaps best known as a top adviser in Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns.
Cummings' statement follows:
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07) today released a statement following the death of Dr. Ron Walters, who not only served as campaign manager for the presidential campaigns of Rev. Jesse Jackson, but was also a professor at University of Maryland and at Howard University, where he instructed Rep. Cummings. Walters died at the age of 72.
“Dr. Ron Walters taught me as a student at Howard University during the early seventies. He was a man of great integrity and intellect. He was such a popular professor that there were waiting lists to get into his classes. However, he was a very strict grader. Whenever I was faced with difficult political decisions in life, the professor would always find time for me. He would provide me with the benefits of his thoughts, opinions and extensive knowledge.
"While he was a quiet man, his opinions always carried a lot of weight in the world of politics and beyond. He was a man who consistently told me what I needed to hear even though I may not have wanted to hear it. He touched the lives of all the students who had the honor of being a part of any of his classes.
“Dr. Walters was not only my teacher. He was also one of my most reliable and brilliant mentors. He truly brought life to my life and to the lives of the many people he touched. I will be forever grateful to Dr. Walters for seeing qualities in me that I did not see in myself. He will be greatly missed.
"A true giant of a man has fallen. However, he has left this world a better place than the one that existed the day he was born. For this and many other reasons I am thankful that my life eclipsed with his. May God bless his soul.”
During his distinguished career, Dr. Walters also published well over 100 academic articles and seven books. One book, Black Presidential Politics in America, won the Bunche Prize. As well as his work in Maryland, he was an assistant professor at Brandeis University, an assistant professor at Syracuse University and a fellow at Harvard University.