Hazel R. O'Leary

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hazel O'Leary
Hazel O'Leary.jpg
14th President of Fisk University
In office
July 13, 2004 – January 31, 2013
Preceded by Carolynn Reid-Wallace[1]
Succeeded by H. James Williams
7th United States Secretary of Energy
In office
January 22, 1993[2] – January 20, 1997
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by James Watkins[2]
Succeeded by Federico Peña[2]
Personal details
Born Hazel Reid
(1937-05-17) May 17, 1937 (age 80)
Newport News, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Carl Rollins (Divorced)
Max Robinson (Divorced)
John O'Leary (1980–1987)
Children 1
Education Fisk University (BA)
Rutgers University, Newark (LLB)[3]

Hazel Reid O'Leary (born May 17, 1937) was the seventh United States Secretary of Energy, from 1993 to 1997, appointed by President Bill Clinton. She was the first woman and first African American to hold the position. She served as president of Fisk University, a historically black college and her alma mater, from 2004 to 2013.

O'Leary received her bachelor's degree from Fisk before earning her Bachelor of Laws degree from Rutgers School of Law. O'Leary then worked as a prosecutor in New Jersey. She worked in a private consulting/accounting firm before joining the Carter Administration. O'Leary returned to the private sector and rejoined the government as the first Secretary of Energy of the Clinton administration. As Secretary of Energy, O'Leary declassified old documents detailing how the United States had previously conducted secretly tested the effects of radiation on humans.

Early life and education[edit]

Hazel Reid was born in Newport News, Virginia. Hazel's parents, Dr. Russel E. Reid and Dr. Hazel Reid were both physicians.[4][5][6] They divorced when she was 18 months old.[7]:98 Her father and step-mother, a teacher named Mattie Pullman Reid, raised Hazel and her older sister Edna Reid.[4][7]:98 Hazel Reid attended school in a segregated school system in Newport News for eight years.[4][8]:506 Reid and her sister were then sent to live with an aunt in Essex County, New Jersey and attend Arts Hight School, an integrated school.[4][8]:506 She earned a bachelor's degree at Fisk University in Nashville in 1959.[8]:506 She then married Carl Rollins and had a son before returning to school and earning her Bachelor of Laws degree from Rutgers School of Law in 1966.[8]:506

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

O'Leary worked as a prosecutor in New Jersey prosecuting organized crime cases.[6] Next she became an assistant attorney general.[8]:507 O'Leary got a divorce and in 1969 moved to Washington, D.C. where she joined the consulting/accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand.[4][8]:507 During the Carter Administration, O'Leary was appointed assistant administrator of the Federal Energy Administration, general counsel of the Community Services Administration, and administrator of the Economic Regulatory Administration at the newly created Department of Energy. At the Department of Energy, Hazel met her third husband, Jack, O'Leary.[6]

In 1981, O'Leary and her husband established the consulting firm of O'Leary & Associates in Morristown, New Jersey, where she served as vice president and general counsel.[9] After Jack died of cancer, Hazel moved to Minnesota.[6] From 1989 to 1993, she worked as an executive vice president of the Northern States Power Company, a Minnesota based public utilities company which served approximately 1.6 million customers.[9][10]

Secretary of Energy[edit]

In a press conference on December 21, 1992 held in Little Rock, Arkansas, then President-elect Bill Clinton announced his intention to nominate O'Leary as Secretary of Energy.[11] Clinton officially made the nomination on January 20, 1993, and the Senate confirmed O'Leary by unanimous consent the next day.[6][12] O'Leary became the first woman and first African American to serve as Secretary of Energy.[13][14] She was also the first Secretary of Energy to have worked for an energy company.[15] At the time she led the Department of Energy, the department had an annual budget of $18 billion[16] and approximately 18,000 employees.[17]

Left to right: Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O'Leary, John S. Foster, President William Clinton, and Mrs. John Foster

O'Leary challenged the Department had traditionally been run, particularly as to the Department's focus on developing and testing nuclear weapons. During her tenure, the size of the Department of Energy was reduced by a third. It was also a target for Republicans who wanted it eliminated entirely.[18][17] While reducing the size of the Department overall, O'Leary shifted resources towards efficient and renewable energy sources,[19] a priority of the Clinton administration.[17]

In this position, O'Leary won plaudits for declassifying old Department of Energy documents.[18][20] Among the documents declassified were Cold War-era records which showed the U.S. Government had used American citizens as guinea pigs in human radiation experiments, as had long been rumored.[18] President Clinton issued Executive Order 12891, which created the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE) to prevent such abuses of power moving forward.[21] O'Leary also announced $4.6 million in settlement payment to the families of victims of past radiation experiments.[18] Other declassified documents included facts about plutonium the United States previously left in South Vietnam.[20]

O'Leary also pushed to end nuclear testing in the United States.[13] Her efforts resulted in President Clinton signing a test ban on nuclear testing, a ban which other nations joined.[18] Early in her tenure as Secretary, O'Leary met with whistle blowers who said they faced harassment for raising legitimate health and safety issues within the Department of Energy.[7]:100 She announced a "zero tolerance" policy, prohibiting retaliation against whistle blowers at nuclear plants.[6]

O'Leary repeatedly faced criticism during her tenure. The Department allocated $43,500 to a Washington firm to identify unfriendly media outlets. The White House Press Secretary called the project "unacceptable." O'Leary claimed the allocation was made without her direct knowledge and defended the research as an attempt to study the efficacy of the Department's messaging.[22] A Government Accountability Office audit of traveling criticized her for traveling too frequently and spending excessively on accommodations.[23][24] She apologized to Congressional committees in 1996 for spending which exceeded limits on the funds appropriated to the agency for travel.[25]

O'Leary resigned effective January 20, 1997,[26] explaining she did not wish to stay in the job more than four years.[20] In 1997 Johnny Chung, a Democratic political donor, claimed that O'Leary met with Chinese oil officials after he gave $25,000 to O'Leary's favorite charity Africare in 1995. FBI director Louis Freeh urged an independent investigation. Attorney General Janet Reno determined there was "no evidence" of wrongdoing by O'Leary.[27] Some observes, including a lawyer for the Government Accountability Project, saw some fault in O'Leary's conduct but also saw racism and sexism in the manner in way O'Leary was treated.[6]

Post-government[edit]

After leaving the Department of Energy, O'Leary once again served as President of O'Leary & Associates, her consulting firm.[3] She also sat on the board of environmental engineering firm ICF Kaiser International.[28] In 2000, she became President and Chief Operating Officer of an investment banking firm, Blaylock & Partners.[3] She left Blaylock & Partners in 2002.[25]

Fisk University President[edit]

On July 13, 2004, O'Leary was selected as President of her undergraduate alma mater, Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee, effective upon the announcement.[29] She was officially installed as the university's fourteenth President on October 6, 2005.[30] Prior to O'Leary's tenure, the university tried unsuccessfully to increase its enrollment and experienced financial problems.[31] In 2008, the Fisk had 770 students enrolled and 264 faculty and staff members.[32][33]

O'Leary speaks on September 24, 2013, at the Minorities in Energy Initiative Launch.

By 2011, Fisk saw its enrollment numbers improve.[33] In spite of improvements by 2011, the school had still operated with a loss in 6 of the previous 9 years.[33] These ongoing financial problems caused the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to place Fisk on probation in 2010 over concerns for the university's finances and future prospects.[34][35] The probation period ended in December 2013.[34]

Under O'Leary's leadership, Fisk went to Court in December 2005 seeking a ruling that it could sell a portion of the University's Alfred Stieglitz Collection.[36][31] The collection was bequeathed to Fisk by his widow and fellow artist Georgia O'Keeffe with restrictions as to the collections sale. O'Leary intended to use the sale to fund a new academic building, endow professorships, and rebuild the schools endowment, which had been drawn down multiple times before O'Leary's arrival.[37] The Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation opposed the sale, and later the Tennessee State Attorney General opposed any sale of the artwork out of state.[36] Ultimately, the school was able to reach a deal with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas to share the collection after seven years of legal battles over the collection. By the time the deal was complete, O'Leary said it was necessary to keep the university open.[38]

Amidst the public battle over attempts to sell the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, O'Leary quietly arranged to sell two other works of art, including a work by Florine Stettheimer. Fisk's board of trustees approved the sale in 2010 although it was not publicly disclosed until The New York Times reported on the sale in 2016. O'Leary defended the decision to sell the art work was done out of necessity amid financial difficulties.[38]

In 2012 she announced that she would retire at the end of the calendar year.[39] Her retirement was effective January 31, 2013.[40] She was succeeded at Fisk by H. James Williams.[41]

Other affiliations[edit]

O'Leary has served as a Director for Alchemix Corp. and CAMAC International Corporation. She also served on the Board of Directors for non-profit organizations such as Nashville Alliance for Public Education, Nashville Business Community for the Arts, and Arms Control Association as well as a Trustee on boards of the World Wildlife Fund, Morehouse College, and The Andrew Young Center of International Development.[3]

Personal life[edit]

O'Leary has been married three times.[7]:100 Her first marriage was to Carl G. Rollins, Jr ended in divorce. The pair had a son, also named Carl. O'Leary was briefly married to ABC News anchorman Max Robinson. In 1977 she met John F. O'Leary, then Deputy Secretary of Energy.[4] The pair married on April 24, 1980 and remained married until his death from cancer in 1987.[17][4] Her son is an attorney.[7]:100 In 1997, O'Leary joined a Presbyterian Church.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Office of the President". Fisk.edu. Archived from the original on August 2, 2003. Retrieved October 14, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Nelson, Michael (October 23, 2012). The Presidency A to Z. CQ Press. p. 666. Retrieved October 12, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Executive Profile: Hazel O'Leary". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 25, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Harringon, Linda M. (May 1, 1994). "No Pie In The Sky". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved June 25, 2017. 
  5. ^ Finkelman, Paul, ed. (2009). Encyclopedia of African American History Volume 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 11. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Henneberger, Melinda (November 24, 1997). "Ex-Official Now Looks To Church For Solace". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 22, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d e L. Haywood, Richette (February 1995). Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Smith, Jessie Carney (1996). Notable Black American Women. VNR AG. ISBN 9780810391772. 
  9. ^ a b Stych, Ed (December 22, 1992). "Energy Secretary Candidate Has Experience as Regulator, Executive". www.questia.com. The Journal Record. Retrieved 2017-06-22. 
  10. ^ Scott, Matthew S. (March 1993). "The New Powers That Be: The Clinton Challenge" Vol. 23, Issue 8,". www.questia.com. Black Enterprise. Retrieved June 22, 2017. 
  11. ^ Ifill, Gwen (December 22, 1992). "The Transition; Clinton Chooses 2 and Delpores Idea of Cabinet Quotas". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 2, 2017. 
  12. ^ "PN76-12 - Nomination of Hazel Rollins O'Leary for Department of Energy, 103rd Congress (1993-1994)". www.congress.gov. January 21, 1993. Retrieved June 22, 2017. 
  13. ^ a b Letzter, Rafi (December 22, 2016). "Here are the qualifications of all 13 people who served as Secretary of Energy before Rick Perry". Business Insider. Retrieved June 22, 2017. 
  14. ^ Bittner, Drew (March 17, 2016). "Women @ Energy – Secretary Hazel O'Leary". Energy.gov. Retrieved October 12, 2017. 
  15. ^ Friedman, Thomas L. (December 27, 1992). "THE TRANSITION; Clinton's Cabinet Choices Put Him at Center, Balancing Competing Factions". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 15, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Black Clout in the Clinton Administration" Vol. 48, Issue 7". www.questia.com. Ebony. May 1993. Retrieved June 25, 2017. 
  17. ^ a b c d Feder, Barnaby J. (December 22, 1992). "New Energy Chief Has Seen 2 Sides of Regulatory Fence". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-10-12. 
  18. ^ a b c d e Warren, James (November 24, 1996). "Hazel O'Leary's Legacy: Ruffled Feathers, A Good Record". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved October 11, 2017. 
  19. ^ Reuter (April 6, 1993). "O'Leary's Revamped Policy Stresses Efficiency, Renewable Energy Sources". www.joc.com. Retrieved October 11, 2017. 
  20. ^ a b c Wald, Matthew L. (January 20, 1997). "Power Is Underpriced, Energy Secretary Says". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 12, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents Volume 30 Issue 3 (Monday, January 24, 1994)". www.gpo.gov. Retrieved June 22, 2017. 
  22. ^ Lewis, Neil a (November 10, 1995). "Energy Secretary Used Fund to Monitor Reporters". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 12, 2017. 
  23. ^ Thomas, Pierre (January 4, 1996). "Energy Dept. Travel Examined; GAO Audit Cites Lax Accounting for O'Leary Trips to India, S. Africa". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  24. ^ Lee, Gary (January 5, 1996). "GAO Report Blasts O'Leary On Sloppy Travel Records". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  25. ^ a b Ford, Lynne E. (May 12, 2010). Encyclopedia of Women and American Politics. Infobase Publishing. pp. 349–350. ISBN 9781438110325. 
  26. ^ "Hazel O'Leary - Collection Finding Aid · Clinton Digital Library". clinton.presidentiallibraries.us. Retrieved October 12, 2017. 
  27. ^ Stout, David (December 3, 1997). "The Attorney General's Decision: The O'Leary Case; Reno Backs Former Energy Secretary's Denials of Wrongdoing". New York Times. Retrieved February 3, 2008. 
  28. ^ "Former Energy Secretary Under Scrutiny". www.cnn.com. September 29, 1997. Retrieved September 14, 2017. 
  29. ^ "Hazel O'Leary, 14th President of Fisk University". fisk.edu. July 13, 2004. Archived from the original on March 6, 2005. Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Fisk University at 150: A look back at the past 50 years". The Tennessean. February 15, 2016. Retrieved October 13, 2017. 
  31. ^ a b Schelzig, Erik (December 28, 2007). "Historically Black College Struggles Financially". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 22, 2017. 
  32. ^ Tusk Hinton Architects (October 2008). "Fisk University Master Plan" (PDF). www.nashville.gov. 
  33. ^ a b c Greenberg, Pierce (December 11, 2011). "Financially challenged Fisk will turn to fundraising, students to raise $8.4M by July". nashvillecitypaper.com. Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  34. ^ a b Stuart, Reginald (December 10, 2013). "Fisk, Florida A&M Get Clean Bills of Health from Accreditation Group". diverseeducation.com. Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  35. ^ "Hazel O'Leary to Retire From Presidency of Fisk University". jbhe.com. February 20, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  36. ^ a b Brooks, Jennifer (September 2, 2010). "The Root: Can Selling O'Keefe's Art Save A University?". NPR.org. Archived from the original on 2012-01-15. Retrieved June 25, 2017. 
  37. ^ Hassell, Bravetta (August 16, 2006). "College Argues For the Right To Sell Art Gifts To Raise Capital". ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 14, 2017. 
  38. ^ a b Tamburin, Adam (July 27, 2016). "Fisk University leaders justify 2010 sale of paintings". The Tennessean. Retrieved August 23, 2017. 
  39. ^ "O'Leary to continue helping Fisk after retirement". Arkansas Online. February 21, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2017. 
  40. ^ Teague, Cass (March 15, 2013). "Remembering O'Leary and her legacy at Fisk University Nashville PRIDE, Inc". pridepublishinggroup.com. Retrieved 2017-10-14. 
  41. ^ "Report: Fisk University selects next president". nashvillecitypaper.com. Retrieved June 25, 2017. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
James Watkins
United States Secretary of Energy
1993–1997
Succeeded by
Federico Peña