Walter Frederick (Fritz) Mondale was born in Ceylon, Minnesota, January 5, 1928. He received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Minnesota and, followng service in the U.S. Army, graduated from the UM law school in 1956. He practiced law in Minneapolis for four years until the governor of Minnesota appointed him state attorney general. He won election to the office in 1962 and two years later the governor appointed him to fill the U.S. Senate seat of Hubert Humphrey, who had been elected vice president. Mondale won election to the senate in 1966 and 1972.
During 12 years in the senate, he served on the Finance Committee, Labor and Public Welfare Committee, Budget Committee and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. He was chairman of the Select Committee on Equal Education Opportunity and the Intelligence Committee's Domestic Task Force.
Mondale won the Democratic nomination for vice president in the summer of 1976 and that November Jimmy Carter and Mondale were elected president and vice president. A full-time participant, advisor and troubleshooter for the administration, Mondale travelled throughout the country and world advocating U.S. policy. In 1984, he was the Democratic Party candidate for president.
Following that election, Mondale practiced law, taught, and served as chair of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. He returned to Minnesota in 1987 to join the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. ambassador to Japan, a position he held for three years. As ambassador he helped negotiate numerous U.S.-Japan trade and security agreements, including a resolution to the United States' controversial military presence in Okinawa, and promoted expansion of educational exchanges.
Mondale is now senior counsel with Dorsey & Whitney, heading the firm's Asia Law Practice Group. He is on the advisory board of the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and established the Mondale Policy Forum at the Institute. A board member of the UnitedHealth Foundation and Panasonic Foundation, he is on the executive committee of the Peace Prize Forum and is a past co-chair of the bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Project.