About Mr. Ward Connerly

Ward Connerly is founder and ward_1President of the American Civil Rights Institute – a national, not-for-profit organization aimed at educating the public about the need to move beyond race and, specifically, racial and gender preferences. Mr. Connerly has gained national attention as an outspoken advocate of equal opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, sex, or ethnic background.

Mr. Connerly is author of Creating Equal: My Fight Against Race Preferences and his new release Lessons from My Uncle James: Beyond Skin Color to the Content of Our Character. One part memoir, one part moral guide, Lessons from My Uncle James is a touching, funny and ultimately a philosophical book about living a principled and productive life regardless of skin color. Lessons illustrates how Mr. Connerly arrived at the ethics that have guided his life and is a new starting point for the discussion about character that America must have in order to move beyond race for good.

As a member of the University of California Board of Regents, Mr. Connerly focused the attention of the nation on the University’s race-based system of preferences in its admissions policy. On July 20, 1995, following Mr. Connerly’s lead, a majority of the Regents voted to end the University’s use of race as a means for admissions. He was appointed to a 12-year term as UC Regent in March 1993.

In 1995, Mr. Connerly accepted chairmanship of the California Civil Rights Initiative (Proposition 209) campaign. Under his leadership, the campaign successfully obtained more than 1 million signatures and qualified for the November 1996 ballot. California voters passed Proposition 209 by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin.

Mr. Connerly also led the efforts to pass initiatives in the States of Washington, Michigan, Nebraska and Arizona that were patterned after California’s Proposition 209, to require equal treatment under the law for all residents in public education, public employment and public contracting.

Mr. Connerly has been profiled on 60 Minutes, the cover of Parade magazine, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek magazine, and virtually every major news magazine in America.   He has also appeared on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Crossfire, Hannity & Colmes, Meet the Press, Dateline, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and C-SPAN.

Mr. Connerly is President and Chief Executive Officer of Connerly & Associates, Inc., a Sacramento-based association management and land development consulting firm founded in 1973. He is regarded as one of the housing industry’s top experts, possessing a comprehensive knowledge of housing and development issues. He has been inducted as a lifetime member into the California Building Industry Hall of Fame and has been a member of the Rotary Club of Sacramento for over 15 years.

Ward Connerly – Honors and Recognitions:

    • Recipient of the National Association of Scholars (NAS) Sidney Hook Memorial Award, “for distinguished contributions to the defense of academic freedom and the integrity of academic life.” (2009)


    • Recipient of the 2006 “Conservative of the Year Award” for dedication and commitment to Education and to the Principles of American Liberty from the Conservative Forum of the Silicon Valley (2007)


    • Recipient of Honorary Lifetime Membership from the College Republicans at Sacramento State University (2007)


    • Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Conservative Union Foundation presented at the Conservative Political Action Conference (2007)


    • Recipient of the Caldwell Award For Leadership in Higher Education from the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy (2006)


    • Recipient of the prestigious “Bradley Prize” for his defense of freedom and democracy from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (2005)
    • Recipient of the Thomas Szasz “Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties” (2003)


    • Recipient of the “George Washington Honor Award” from the Freedom Foundation (2002)


    • Recipient of the “Individual Freedom Award” from the Sovereign Fund (2001)


    • Recipient of the Black Students Association Award from the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga (2001)


    • Recipient of the Racial Harmony Hall of Fame Award from “A Place For Us” (2000)


    • Recipient of the “Ronald Reagan Award for Leadership” from the California Republican Party (1998)


    • Recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award from the Council for National Policy (1998)


    • Recipient of the “State Achievement Award” from the Conservative Political Action Conference (1998)


    • Recipient of the “Spirit of Lincoln Award” from the Log Cabin Republicans (1998)


    • Recipient of the “Lincoln Award for Leadership” from the Independent Women’s Forum (1997)


    • Recipient of the “Courage in Leadership Award” from Black America’s Political Action Committee (1997)


    • Recipient of the Lt. General Edward J. Bronars “Defender of Freedom Award” from the Freedom Alliance (1997)


    • Recipient of the “National Columbia Award” from the Washington Institute for Public Policy Studies (1996)


  • Recipient of the “Patrick Henry Award” from the Center for the Study of Popular Culture (1995 )