In the mid 1970s, then-Iowa Gov. Robert D. Ray, J.D., appointed Luther Glanton Jr. to the district court bench, making him the first black judge in Iowa. As the 38th governor of Iowa, serving from 1969 to 1983, Ray issued orders to promote civil rights and established the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, a group that honored him in 1982 with the Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice. He encouraged Iowans to assist refugees from Southeast Asia and in 1979 served as delegate to the United Nations Conference on Refugees.
For these and other worthy acts, Ray will be honored at DMU’s Glanton Scholarship Dinner Oct. 14 at the Meadows at Prairie Meadows, Altoona, IA.
“We couldn’t be more excited about having Gov. Ray as our honoree this year. He is an exemplary Iowa leader and has done so much for minorities in our state,” says Sue Huppert, DMU’s vice president for alumni and development.
Money raised from Glanton Dinner ticket sales and donations increases the endowment for the scholarship named for Judge Glanton and his wife, Willie Stevenson Glanton. The scholarship assists minority students in all DMU programs.
Willie Glanton was the first black female assistant county attorney and the first black person from Polk County to serve in the Iowa Legislature. Judge Glanton joined the DMU Board of Trustees in 1979; when he died in 1991, Willie took his place on the board, became its chair in 1999 and continues to serve today.
Since leaving the governor’s office, Ray served as president of Drake University and interim mayor of Des Moines; he co-founded the Institute for Character Development and co-chaired the National Coalition on Health Care. In 2005 he received the Iowa Award from the Iowa Centennial Memorial Commission.
Learn more about the Glanton Scholarship, established in 2004. For information on becoming a corporate or individual sponsor of the Glanton Dinner, contact Sue Huppert at 515-271- 1384. To be added to the dinner invitation list, contact Lyrio Cloma-Read at 515-271-1387.