Born in Wallace, South Dakota in 1911 to a mother who was a homemaker and a father who was a small-town pharmacist, Hubert H. Humphrey enjoyed an illustrious career as a statesman and champion of civil and human rights.
He became mayor of Minneapolis in 1945 and gained national attention when he delivered a controversial, electrifying, and historic speech on civil rights to the Democratic National Convention in 1948. In that year, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served for 15 years. In 1964 he was elected Vice President of the United States on the ticket headed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and served a full four-year term. He ran for President in 1968, but lost by a very thin margin to Richard M. Nixon. Undaunted, Humphrey returned to the Senate in 1971, where he served until his death from cancer in January 1978.
Among many qualities, Humphrey was known for his exuberant personality and detailed memory. Persons of many different political orientations considered him a friend, and he worked on behalf of people from all walks of life: the young, the aged, the poor, laborers, farmers, people of color, and people from other countries.
During a eulogy at Humphrey's funeral, President Jimmy Carter remarked: "From time to time, our nation is blessed by the presence of men and women who bear the mark of greatness, who help us see a better vision of what we can become. Hubert Humphrey was such a man."
Building on that sentiment, in March 1978 Carter announced the creation of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program to honor Humphrey's exemplary leadership, his tireless devotion to public service, and his sincere hope for greater understanding among nations.