A native of Santiago, Dominican Republic, Hipolito Mejia was born in 1941 and graduated as an associate agronomist from Polytechnic Institute of San Cristobal in 1964. He attended NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in the 1960s. He worked – first as agricultural investigator and later as national director – in the Dominican Republic’s Tobacco Institute before joining Rohm and Haas, a U.S. agricultural chemicals manufacturing company, as Caribbean representative. He was selected president of the National Association of Agriculture Professionals in 1970. In 1973, Mejia became vice-president of programming and agricultural development at Industrias Linda.
Mejia’s political career began in 1978 as the Dominican Republic’s Secretary of Agriculture. He passed two powerful tests during his tenure: rehabilitating Dominican agriculture after the devastation of two cyclones, and eradicating African pig fever which threatened the country’s livestock. After his four-year term, Mejia returned to the private sector as an agricultural consultant, but he remained active politically, serving as national vice-president of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD).
Mejia became president of the Dominican Republic after the PRD won elections held in May 2000.