Richard (Dick) Riley is a Senior Partner with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, a South Carolina-based law firm with offices throughout South and North Carolina, as well as in Atlanta, Boston and Washington, DC.
Riley was U.S. Secretary of Education from 1993 to 2001, the entire duration of the Clinton Presidency. He was selected for his successful efforts, while Governor, to improve education in South Carolina. As the nation's chief education officer, Secretary Riley helped launch historic initiatives to raise academic standards, improve instruction for the poor and disadvantaged, help more people go to college and prepare for the world of work, improve teaching, give schools and libraries deep discounts for Internet access and telecommunications services and improve the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. He also created the Partnership for Family Involvement in Education, which grew during his service to include more than 6,000 businesses, governments, associations and other entities interested in improving education.
Riley was elected Governor of South Carolina in 1978. During his first term, the state constitution was amended to allow a second term. Riley was re-elected in 1982 and served until 1987. Riley began his political career as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, serving from 1963 through 1966. He then was elected to the State Senate, serving for ten years beginning in 1967.
Riley chairs the Advisory Council of the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics and Public Leadership, a multi-faceted, nonpartisan institute at Furman University, on which board he also serves. Riley is a board member of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, ACT, Laureate Education, Inc. and other South Carolina and national education entities, as well as co-chairs the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF).
Riley has been named Distinguished Professor at Furman University and the University of South Carolina and Distinguished Senior Fellow at NAFSA: Association of International Educators. He graduated cum laude from Furman University in 1954, served as an officer on a U.S. Navy minesweeper in 1954-55, and earned a J.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1959. He married Ann (Tunky) Yarborough Riley in 1957; they have four children and 13 grandchildren.