Ward A. Connerly: The Independent Institute

The Power of Independent Thinking

Ward A. Connerly
Ward A. Connerly

Wardell A. Connerly is a former member of the University of California Board of Regents, Founder and Chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI), and Founder of Connerly and Associates, Inc., a consulting and land-use planning company. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in political science from California State University, Sacramento, where he was also student body president.

He became the chairman of the California Civil Rights Initiative Campaign that resulted in the passage of Proposition 209 (with 54.6% of the vote) prohibiting race- and gender-based preferences in state hiring, contracting, and state university admissions, a program known as affirmative action. The ACRI supported a similar ballot measure in Washington state, Initiative 200, which would later pass with 58.2% of the vote. In addition, voters in Nebraska approved an anti-affirmative action measure that he created, called Initiative 424. And, similar to the California initiative, with his leadership, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative appeared on the November 2006 ballot and was passed with 58% voter approval.

He is the author of the autobiography, Creating Equal: My Fight Against Race Preferences, he was made an honorary member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and he was inducted as a lifetime member into the California Building Industry Hall of Fame.