Richard W. Riley – 2005
Former U.S. Secretary of Education
Former Governor of South Carolina
View Riley’s Acceptance Speech
Richard W. Riley is the former U. S. Secretary of Education (1993-2001) and former Governor of South Carolina (1979-1987). He currently is a senior partner in the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, L.L.P, with more than 300 attorneys in offices throughout South Carolina and North Carolina, as well as in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Secretary Riley counsels clients and works with partners to develop strategy on complex business, governance, financial and legal matters for local, national and international clients.
With the full support of the firm, Secretary Riley remains an ambassador for improving education in the United States and abroad. He has been appointed Distinguished Professor at his alma mater, Furman University, and serves as Advisory Board Chair of the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics and Public Leadership there. He also has been named Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina, and the College of Education at Winthrop University bears his name. Secretary Riley is also a Distinguished Senior Fellow at NAFSA: Association of International Educators in Washington, D.C. In addition, he speaks, provides leadership and serves in an advisory and collaborative capacity with many other entities across the nation and abroad that support education improvement.
Secretary Riley earned his bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in political science from Furman University in 1954 and received a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1959. He is the recipient of numerous education and other public service awards, as well as honorary degrees from universities and colleges in the United States and abroad.
Secretary Riley and his wife, Ann Yarborough Riley but more commonly known as Tunky, have four children and 13 grandchildren.