The Riley Institute

Named for former U.S. Secretary of Education and former South Carolina Governor Dick Riley, the Riley Institute advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond by building leadership for a diverse society, broadening student and community perspectives on critical issues, hosting expert speakers, supporting public education, and creating knowledge through community solutions-focused research. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change.

Be a Part of Our Premier 2024 OneSouthCarolina Event

Centers of Work


The Riley Institute was founded in 1999 at Furman University with the dual objectives of advancing social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond and providing unmatched opportunities for Furman students.

More about the institute

Broadening perspectives around pressing contemporary policy issues, the Riley Institute hosts expert speakers and scholars on the university’s campus as well as across South Carolina. Hundreds of expert speakers have spoken at Riley Institute events since its founding in 1999.

Make Plans to Join Us

The Riley Institute’s Center for Diversity Strategies recognizes excellence in diversity leadership and equips leaders and community stakeholders with the tools needed to harness the power of diversity in their organizations and communities, drive positive change, and enhance the economic and civic vitality of South Carolina.

Learn more

The Institute’s research consultancy promotes evidence-informed practices and policies and supports entities that serve children and families across the state. It provides external research and evaluation services, serves as an evaluation partner, and helps organizations build strategic learning skills.

Learn More

The Riley Institute’s Center for Education Policy and Leadership supports and recognizes highly effective and innovative approaches to public education, from afterschool and summer learning to public school Montessori, that drive better and more equitable outcomes for all the people of South Carolina and beyond.

Learn More

For students wanting to become thought leaders, learning from one of the 20th Century’s top presidential cabinet members is not a bad place to start. The Riley Institute cultivates leaders among students and broadens perspectives about issues critical to progress in South Carolina and beyond.

Get Involved
Join Our Mailing List

Join Our Mailing List

Sign up for the latest updates and information below.

Connect with the Riley Institute

Connect with the Riley Institute

Have a question, comment, or idea? Reach out and we'll be in touch soon!

Public Education Blog

Evidence Matters | Making the Grade: Strengthening Schools Through Community

August 10, 2023 Our Making the Grade series has discussed how evaluating a school’s effectiveness and quality comes with a wide array of challenges, particularly when assessing schools that serve larger populations of disadvantaged students....

Continue Reading >

Evidence Matters | Making the Grade: The Quest for Quality Measures

August 1, 2023 As we highlighted in our previous Making the Grade posts, the established correlation between socioeconomic status (SES) and academic performance has long created difficulties for those attempting to measure school quality—if a...

Continue Reading >

Evidence Matters | Making the Grade: Can an Early Start Lead to a Better Finish?

July 13, 2023 As we highlighted in our last post, when we interpret school report card ratings, it is important that we consider the ways in which various factors—including the overall socioeconomic status (SES) of...

Continue Reading >

Latest Riley Institute News

Greenville Journal: Community Remembrance Project seeks to acknowledge painful history

November 15, 2023 The Greenville Journal discusses the efforts of the Community Remembrance Project of Greenville County to acknowledge and commemorate the victims of four documented lynchings, including that of George Green, a Black farmer...

Continue Reading >

Triple P Greenville wins Riley Institute statewide award

FOR INFORMATION: Claudia WinklerDirector of Marketing and CommunicationsThe Riley Institute at Furman University864.294.3368; NOVEMBER 7, 2023 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TRIPLE P GREENVILLE WINS RILEY INSTITUTE STATEWIDE AWARD The program was recognized with the...

Continue Reading >

S.C. Supreme Court on the road at Furman

By Tina Underwood   Five South Carolina Supreme Court justices took their work on the road to add some transparency to their process and to teach citizens about the law. Furman University’s McAlister Auditorium was...

Continue Reading >