Richard Riley

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Richard Riley
Richard Riley Official Department of Education Photo.jpg
6th United States Secretary of Education
In office
January 21, 1993 – January 20, 2001
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Lamar Alexander
Succeeded by Rod Paige
111th Governor of South Carolina
In office
January 10, 1979 – January 14, 1987
Lieutenant Nancy Stevenson
Michael Daniel
Preceded by James Edwards
Succeeded by Carroll Campbell
Member of the South Carolina Senate
from the 2nd district
In office
January 9, 1973 – January 11, 1977
Preceded by Harris Smith
Succeeded by Carroll Campbell
Member of the South Carolina Senate
from the 3rd district
In office
January 10, 1967 – January 9, 1973
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by John W. Drummond
Personal details
Born Richard Wilson Riley
(1933-01-02) January 2, 1933 (age 85)
Greenville, South Carolina, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Ann Yarborough
Education Furman University (BA)
University of South Carolina, Columbia (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1954–1955

Richard Wilson "Dick" Riley (born January 2, 1933) is an American politician, the United States Secretary of Education under President Bill Clinton and the 111th Governor of South Carolina. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Riley is the only Democrat to serve two consecutive terms as Governor in the time since the state constitution was amended to allow Governors to serve consecutive terms.

Early life and career[edit]

Born on January 2, 1933 in Greenville, South Carolina, to Edward P. "Ted" Riley[1] and the former Martha (née Dixon) Riley. He graduated cum laude from Furman University in 1954 and received his law degree from the University of South Carolina.[2]

Riley served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1963 to 1966. He served in the South Carolina Senate from 1967 to 1977.

Governor of South Carolina, 1979–1987[edit]

Riley as Governor

Riley was elected governor of South Carolina in 1978. During his first term, the state constitution was amended to allow governors to serve two terms. Riley was re-elected in 1982, 69-31 percent, over the Republican former journalist W. D. Workman, Jr., of Greenville, and served until 1987.

As Governor, Riley presided over the resumption of executions, despite his personal opposition to the death penalty.[3]

Riley's gubernatorial accomplishments centered upon improving funding and support for education and industrial recruitment. He named Max Heller, the mayor of Greenville who had lost the 1978 election for the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina's 4th congressional district to Republican Carroll A. Campbell, as the chairman of the South Carolina State Development Board. In this position, Heller recruited such businesses as Michelin North America and Digital Computer. State business recruitment under Heller surpassed $1 billion.[4] Heller pursued industrial diversification; during his five years as chairman of the development board, more than 65,000 jobs were created statewide.[5]

Post-gubernatorial career[edit]

Richard Riley on Air Force One with President Clinton in 1999

In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Riley to his Cabinet as Secretary of Education. Riley served in this post until Clinton left office in 2001. Also in 1993, President Clinton approached Riley about an appointment to the United States Supreme Court, which Riley turned down. Clinton ultimately appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Since then, he has served as a partner in the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, and served as a board member of the Albert Shanker Institute. On June 27, 2007 he endorsed Hillary Clinton for President and served as a Campaign Co-Chair.[6]

In 1999, Furman University, Riley's alma mater, created the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics and Public Leadership in his honor. In 2000, Riley received the Foreign Language Advocacy Award from the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in recognition of his support for education and especially for his repeated recommendations that all students learn a second language.[7] In 2008, Walden University renamed its college of education the Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, in honor of Riley's "commitment to students, his legacy of improving access to higher education, and his focus on diversity in education."[8] Winthrop University also renamed its college of education after Riley in 2000.

World Justice Project[edit]

Riley serves as an Honorary Co-Chair for the World Justice Project. The World Justice Project works to lead a global, multidisciplinary effort to strengthen the Rule of Law for the development of communities of opportunity and equity.

Personal life[edit]

Riley and his wife, the former Ann O. Yarborough, have three sons and one daughter.

See also[edit]




External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Bryan Dorn
Democratic nominee for Governor of South Carolina
1978, 1982
Succeeded by
Michael Daniel
Preceded by
Bruce Babbitt
Chair of the Democratic Governors Association
Succeeded by
Michael Dukakis
Political offices
Preceded by
James Edwards
Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Carroll Campbell
Preceded by
Lamar Alexander
United States Secretary of Education
Succeeded by
Rod Paige