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Bill Clinton to speak at opening of Riley collection

Staff Report //July 11, 2018//

Bill Clinton to speak at opening of Riley collection

Staff Report //July 11, 2018//

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Former President Bill Clinton will speak at the opening of the Richard W. Riley Collection at the University of South Carolina on Aug. 6.

The life and career of Riley, a former U.S. Secretary of Education and South Carolina governor, senator and representative, will be added to the university’s South Carolina Political Collections. The archives, the culmination of five years of curation, include documents and memorabilia chronicling Riley’s public service and work as a private citizen.

“As a former South Carolina governor and state legislator, I am so proud to have my collection housed at one of the state’s premier public institutions of higher learning, the University of South Carolina, where I also graduated from the School of Law,” Riley said in a news release. “USC is a prestigious university, and its Hollings Special Collections Library is a jewel.”

Riley served as education secretary under Clinton from 1993-2001. He is the nation’s longest-serving education secretary and the only person to hold that Cabinet position for both terms of a two-term president.

Clinon will deliver remarks at a private event that will include government and university officials. 

The Riley collection contains more than 3,000 photographs, thousands of speeches with handwritten notes and interviews with Riley and his family.

“I believe that my speeches are especially informative, in that it was in the process of preparing them that I developed, refined and advanced the various policies and programs that were on my reform agenda,” Riley said. “Certainly, the most significant would be the documents surrounding the more-than-year-long process to develop, advocate for, gain passage and then implement the Education Improvement Act of 1984.”

Riley was born in Greenville County in 1933. He graduated from Furman University and served in the U.S. Navy before earning a law degree from USC. He served as a state representative and senator from 1963-1977 and served two terms as S.C. governor, from 1978-1986.

Riley is currently co-chair of the National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future and a senior partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough law firm.

“As governor and later as U.S. Secretary of Education, Dick Riley earned a reputation as a great champion of the idea that education is the fundamental ingredient to improving individual lives and transforming entire communities,” USC president Harris Pastides said. “We are honored that he has chosen the University of South Carolina to permanently house his collection. We hope the collection serves to inspire future generations of scholars and educators.”

An exhibition featuring highlights of the collection, “Richard W. Riley: Statesman of Education,” opens Aug. 6 and will remain open through Dec. 23 at the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library at the university’s Thomas Cooper Library.

“It is my wish that anyone who visits or reviews the collection will understand and appreciate my deep love and respect for the state of South Carolina and our great nation,” Riley said.