|6th United States Secretary of Education|
January 21, 1993 – January 20, 2001
|Preceded by||Lamar Alexander|
|Succeeded by||Rod Paige|
|111th Governor of South Carolina|
January 10, 1979 – January 14, 1987
|Preceded by||James Edwards|
|Succeeded by||Carroll Campbell|
|Member of the South Carolina Senate|
from the 2nd district
January 9, 1973 – January 11, 1977
|Preceded by||Harris Smith|
|Succeeded by||Carroll Campbell|
|Member of the South Carolina Senate|
from the 3rd district
January 10, 1967 – January 9, 1973
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||John W. Drummond|
Richard Wilson Riley
January 2, 1933
Greenville, South Carolina, U.S.
|Education||Furman University ( BA)|
University of South Carolina, Columbia ( LLB)
|Branch/service||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
Born on January 2, 1933 in Greenville, South Carolina, to Edward P. "Ted" Riley 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.
Governor of South Carolina, 1979–1987
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.
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. Heller pursued industrial diversification; during his five years as chairman of the development board, more than 65,000 jobs were created statewide.
As Governor of South Carolina, he initiated the Education Improvement Act, which a Rand Corp. study at the time called “the most comprehensive educational reform measure in the U.S.” He also initiated landmark legislation such as the Medically Indigent Assistance Act, the first statewide program of its kind in the nation; the Employment Revitalization Act aimed at coordinating occupational training statewide; and the Omnibus Crime Bill, which strengthened punishments for violent crimes while dealing responsibly with prison overcrowding.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton approached Riley about an appointment to the United States Supreme Court, which Riley turned down. Clinton ultimately appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That same year, President Clinton appointed Riley to his Cabinet as Secretary of Education. From 1997 to 2000, Riley worked with senior adviser Carol Rasco, the director of Clinton's childhood literacy initiative, the America Reads Challenge, to design and implement the program. Riley served as Secretary of Education until Clinton left office in 2001. 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.
World Justice Project
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.
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. 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." Winthrop University also renamed its college of education after Riley in 2000.
TIME magazine in 2008 named him among the Top Ten Best Cabinet Members in USA history. The Christian Science Monitor once said that many Americans regard Dick Riley as "one of the great statesmen of education in this (20th) century." The late David Broder, columnist for The Washington Post, called him one of the "most decent and honorable people in public life."
In 2018, his hometown of Greenville announced plans to memorialize him with a sculpture representing his extraordinary public leadership and commitment to quality education for all children.
The Richard W. Riley Collection opened in 2018 at the University of South Carolina’s South Carolina Political Collections and contains more than 3,000 photographs; thousands of speeches with Riley’s handwritten edits; extensive research notes on policy development; considerable correspondence and news clippings; interviews with Riley and his late wife, Tunky, their son, Ted, and Dick Riley's father, Edward P. “Ted” Riley. The collection also includes printed campaign materials from Riley's political campaigns and his efforts for others, including Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Al Gore.
Riley and his wife, the late Ann O. Yarborough, have three sons and one daughter.
- "South Carolina Political Collections - University Libraries | University of South Carolina". library.sc.edu. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- "Archived: U. S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley Biographical Sketch". www2.ed.gov. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- "The best governor in America - and you've never heard of him. - Free Online Library". www.thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- "Katrina Daniel, A Tribute to Max Heller, August 1, 2011". Greenville Business Magazine. Archived from the original on May 21, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- "Max Heller Biography". Furman University. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- "Director of the "America Reads Challenge" to Speak in New Haven". YaleNews. November 10, 1997. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
- Mead, Aaron (October 30, 2010). "Interview: Carol Rasco, Reading is Fundamental". Children's Books and Reviews. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved October 23, 2018.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "The James W. Dodge Foreign Language Advocate Award". Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
- "Walden U. Names a College After a Former Secretary of Education". The Chronicle of Higher Education. January 23, 2008. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- "Top 10 Best Cabinet Members". Time. November 13, 2008. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- "Richard Riley". Alliance For Excellent Education. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- News Administrator. "Richard W. Riley to be honored with downtown Greenville sculpture - Furman News". news.furman.edu. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- Binette, Peggy. "UofSC opens Richard W. Riley Collection". University of South Carolina. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- U.S. Department of Education Bio
- The Political Graveyard
- CNN AllPolitics – Players – Richard Riley
- Nelson, Mullins, Riley, and Scarborough Biography
- Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership
- The Riley Institute
- Furman University
- SCIway Biography of Richard Wilson Riley
- NGA Biography of Richard Wilson Riley
- Past Winners of Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education
- Richard Riley Interview NAMM Oral History Program (2013)
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for Governor of South Carolina
| Chair of the Democratic Governors Association
| Governor of South Carolina
| United States Secretary of Education