Walter Frederick ("Fritz") Mondale
was born in Ceylon, Minnesota on Jan. 5, 1928, the son of Theodore Sigvaard
Mondale and Claribel Cowan Mondale. He spent his boyhood in the small towns
of southern Minnesota, where he attended public schools. After he helped
manage Hubert H. Humphrey's first successful U.S. Senate campaign in 1948,
he earned his B.A. in political science from the University of Minnesota
in 1951. After completing service as a corporal in the U.S. Army, Mondale
received his LL.B (cum laude) from the University of Minnesota Law School
in 1956, having served on the law review and as a law clerk in the Minnesota
Mondale practiced law for the next
four years in Minneapolis. In 1960, Minnesota Gov. Orville Freeman appointed
him to the position of state attorney general. Mondale was then elected
to the office in 1962, and served until 1964, when Gov. Karl Rolvaag asked
him to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy create by Hubert Humphrey's election
to the vice presidency. The voters of Minnesota returned Mondale to the
Senate in 1966 and 1972.
During his 12 years as a senator, Mondale
served on the Finance Committee, the Labor and Public Welfare Committee,
Budget Committee, and the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
He also served as the chairman of the Select Committee on Equal Education
Opportunity and as the chairman of the Intelligence Committee's Domestic
Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale were
elected president and vice president of the United States on Nov. 2, 1976.
On the president's behalf, Mondale traveled extensively throughout the
nation and the world advocating U.S. policy. He was the first vice president
to have an office in the White House, and he served as a full-time participant,
advisor, and troubleshooter for the administration. During this period,
Joan Mondale served as a national advocate for the arts and was Honorary
Chairman of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.
In 1984, Mondale was the Democratic
Party's nominee for president of the United States. He lost to President
Since that election, Mondale has been
practicing law, teaching, studying, traveling, and serving as a director
of both non-profit and corporate boards. He returned to his native Minnesota
in 1987, where he has been practicing law as a partner with the firm of
Dorsey & Whitney.
Until his appointment as U.S. Ambassador
to Japan, Walter Mondale was a Distinguished University Fellow in Law and
Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University
of Minnesota. In 1990, Mondale established the Mondale Policy Forum at
the Humphrey Institute. The forum has brought together leading scholars
and policymakers for annual conferences on domestic and international issues.
For 1992-93, the forum's theme was the "The Challenge of Social Justice
in a Global Economy."
From 1986-93, Mondale was chairman
of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, an organization
that conducts non-partisan international programs to help maintain and
strengthen democratic institutions. In that capacity, he has co-led delegations
to Poland and Hungary.
Mondale has also served on the executive
committee of the Peace Prize Forum, an annual conference co-sponsored by
the Norwegian Nobel Institute and five Midwestern colleges of Norwegian
heritage. Former President Jimmy Carter, former Costa Rican President Oscar
Arias Sanchez, Nobel laureate and author Elie Wiesel, Dr. Yelena Bonner,
and Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug have been among the featured speakers.
In spring 1993, Mondale was elected
a director of the Council on Foreign Relations. Other non-profit boards
of directors on which he served until his appointment as ambassador include
the Guthrie Theatre Foundation, Mayo Foundation, National Democratic Institute
for International Affairs, Rand Corporation, and University of Minnesota
Foundation. His recent corporate board memberships included BlackRock Advantage
Term Trust and other BlackRock Mutual Funds, Cargill Incorporated, CNA
Financial Corporation, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, First Financial Fund
and other Prudential Mutual Funds, Northwest Airlines, and Untied HealthCare
Mondale was sworn in as U.S. ambassador
to Japan on Aug. 13, 1993. He had been nominated by President Clinton on
June 11, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 30. The former vice president
succeeded Michael H. Armacost, who had been ambassador to Tokyo since 1989.
Mondale completed his service in that role in December, 1997.
He returned to his Minnesota home and
rejoined the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney as a partner.
In March, 1998, Mondale traveled to
Jakarta as President Clinton's personal representative for discussions
with President Soeharto and other Indonesian officials on the financial
situation facing that country.
Mondale is married to the former Joan
Adams. They have three children: Theodore, Eleanor Jane, and William.
Mondale has authored the book The Accountability
of Power: Toward a Responsible Presidency and has written numerous articles
on domestic and international issues. In his free time, he enjoys fishing,
reading Shakespeare and historical accounts, barbecuing, skiing, and tennis.
(Based on a 1996 biography released by the
U.S. Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs)