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Riley Institute reading program for inmates and their families gets new name

Sec. Richard Riley ’54

Last updated November 9, 2023

By Tina Underwood

A reading program crafted in 2016 to support South Carolina inmates and their families has a new name. The program, known previously as “A Father’s Voice” or “A Mother’s Voice,” is now named Riley’s Readers, in honor of Richard W. Riley, namesake of The Riley Institute at Furman University and former South Carolina governor and U.S. secretary of education.

The program was created by a cohort of The Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative, which included South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling. The Riley Fellows devised a way to enable incarcerated people in 21 state prisons to record themselves reading bedtime stories to their children. Nearly 500 books have been recorded and shared with children since the program began.

Riley was in attendance Wednesday for the renaming announcement, which was covered by WBTV (Charlotte) and WRDW/WAGT (Augusta).

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