Richard W. Riley is the former U. S. Secretary of Education (1993-2001) and former Governor of South Carolina (1979-1987). Currently a senior partner in the South Carolina law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, with offices also in North Carolina, Atlanta, Boston and Washington, D.C., he counsels clients and works with partners to develop strategy on complex business, governance, financial and legal matters for local, national and international clients. Dick also is a senior partner with the NMRS affiliate, EducationCounsel, LLC that provides strategy, advocacy, policy and legal advice to education entities across the country.
With the full support of the firm, Dick remains an ambassador for improving education in the United States and abroad. He has been appointed Distinguished Professor at Furman and serves as Advisory Board Chair of the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics and Public Leadership. He also has been named Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina. The College of Education at Winthrop University bears his name, as does the College of Education and Leadership at Walden University. He also is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at NAFSA: Association of International Educators in Washington, D. C. In addition, Dick Riley serves in an advisory and collaborative capacity with several other entities across the nation and overseas that support education improvement.
Dick earned his bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in political science from Furman 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.
Dick and his wife, Ann (“Tunky”) Yarborough Riley, now deceased, have four children and 13 grandchildren.