Clinton associate tapped to deliver Dec. '13 graduation address
PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Nov. 8, 2013) - Civil rights attorney Richard L. Mays Sr. of Little Rock, Ark., chairman of a new regional TV network, will be the graduation speaker at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore next month.
The widely traveled Mays will deliver the commencement address at the 17th winter graduation exercises scheduled for Dec. 13.
Mays is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he received the Phi Beta Kappa award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement. His law degree is from the University of Arkansas and is a senior and founding partner of Mays, Byrd & Associates, P.A. (formerly, Mays & Crutcher, P.A.), which he established in 1977.
Earlier this year, Mays helped launch “Soul of the South,” a regional television network geared to African-Americans. It produces original programming and news broadcasts to viewers in Little Rock, Dallas, much of Louisiana, Florida’s Panhandle as well as in the New York, Philadelphia and Chicago markets. Its business plan calls for programming to be available in Washington.
Mays worked at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. under the Attorney General’s Honor Graduate Program before returning to Arkansas to serve as a public prosecutor.
After entering private practice, he ran successfully in 1972 for a seat in the Arkansas General Assembly, becoming one of the first African Americans elected to the state legislature in the 20th century.
President Bill Clinton, during his first term as Arkansas governor, appointed Mays in 1980 to fill an unexpired term on that state’s Supreme Court. In 1990, Clinton appointed Mays to the Arkansas Ethics Commission and was its first chairman.
After Clinton was elected president in 1992 and re-elected in 1996, Mays served on both inauguration planning committees.
In 1993, he served as a member of the U.S.-South Africa Business Development Committee. From 1993 to 1995, Mays was Senior Vice President of Cassidy & Associates, a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C.
For more than 10 years, Mays was a consultant to CMS Energy of Jackson, Mich. in connection with the development and expansion of a 330-megawatt power plant in Takoradi, Ghana.
In 2001, then-Gov. Mike Huckabee appointed Mays to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and in 2003, appointed him to the Arkansas Banking Board. He joined the Arkansas Claims Commission in 2006 and currently serves as co-chair.
Bill Robinson, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355.