Riley Media Coverage Archive 2017-2020

Read the Riley Institute Media Coverage Archive

December 2020

Secretary Riley’s Education Policy Proposal for the Biden Administration

Dick Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education and former governor of South Carolina, has outlined his recommendations for expanding learning opportunities and technology access to children in the face of COVID-19. Those recommendations have been submitted to the education transition team for President-elect Joe Biden. Click here for more details.

First-ever Statewide Class Graduates From The Riley Institute’s Award-Winning Diversity Program. Upon graduating from the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) inaugural statewide class on December 17, 46 leaders from across the state have new tools and perspectives to help leverage diversity to improve organizational outcomes and drive social and economic progress in South Carolina. Read Statewide news release

October 2020

Upon graduating this month from the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative, 81 leader from across the Upstate and the Midlands have new tools and perspectives to help leverage diversity to improve organizational outcomes and drive social and economic progress in South Carolina. Read Midlands news release | Read Upstate news release

Quality Counts, a Spartanburg First Steps program, received the 2020 Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award during a virtual celebration of South Carolina public education presented by Furman University’s Riley Institute on October 6. Read More

September 2020

Sixteen new education leaders have been selected for the Riley Institute’s White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship. They will work together to grow and strengthen afterschool and expanded learning programs as the country’s education gap widens due to the pandemic. Read More

August 2020

Robert Costa, moderator for PBS’s Washington Week; Allison Riggs, interim director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice; and Don Gonyea, national political correspondent for NPR, are among more than a dozen notable election and voting rights experts who will appear on StraightTalk: Voting in America beginning September 1. Read More

Three South Carolina initiatives supporting public education are being recognized for their effectiveness in improving student outcomes. The Alternative Pathways to Educator Certification program, Monaview MAGIC Initiative, and Spartanburg First Steps/Quality Counts have been named finalists for the 10th annual Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award. Read More

June 2020

Richard W. Riley and the Riley Institute’s Executive Director Don Gordon have co-authored an op-ed, “We must act now to dismantle structural racism,” in the The Post & Courier. Its publication marks five years since the Mother Emanuel AME slayings in Charleston and follows recent protests calling for an end to racial violence.  Read More

April 2020

The Riley Institute at Furman is pleased to announce its newest staff member, Katie Quine, who joined the Institute on March 30. Quine will serve the Marketing & Communications Manager directing all marketing efforts and helping to raise the profile of the Institute’s core programs. Read More, GSA and pdf format

The Riley Institute’s Center for Critical Issues “brings the world to Furman” by hosting a diverse roster of speakers on campus each year. While our events are on hold due to COVID-19, we’re bringing the world to the fingertips of our Advance Team, a select group of Furman students interested in government and public policy, through our new video series COVID-19 Conversations. Each week, a few members of the Advance Team sit down for an intimate, virtual conversation with a past speaker to discuss the coronavirus’s impact on life’s many dimensions. View all COVID-19 Conversations episodes

Committed to progress in South Carolina, fellows of The Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) seek to develop real solutions for real social issues. As the COVID-19 outbreak has drastically changed the way we live, these state leaders are quickly adapting the ways they support the communities they serve. We’re shining the spotlight on their exemplary leadership during this unprecedented time in our new Frontline Fellows series. See all Frontline Fellows interviews

Emerging Public Leaders (EPL) 2019-20 winners and awards announced. Furman News

October 2019

Read about the celebration of the life of former Secretary of Education and two-term governor Dick Riley and the 20th Anniversary of The Riley Institute at Furman University. Furman News

As the Riley Institute turns 20, former Governor and Secretary of Education Dick Riley isn’t resting. Furman News

The Riley Institute and SCETV Expand Partnership to produce in-depth stories on public education, civic leadership and conversations with state, national and global policy leaders. Furman News

September 2019

Former white nationalist Derek Black to speak at StraightTalk Series 2019, Session 3. Furman News

March 2019

Montessori in South Carolina: Authentic or Not? by Brooke Culclasure, PhD and Ginny Riga, EdD. Read more

February 2019

“There is no feeling like being free,” Hinton said. Anthony Ray Hinton delivered an address, “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row” on February 27th about his incarceration on death row for 30 years. Read more about this event.

November 2018

The sculpture of Richard W. Riley unveiling took place at the Peace Center on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. Furman News

October 2018

Twenty-three South Carolina education stakeholders will visit Finland’s public schools this month to gain insight into critical challenges in public education in South Carolina. The field study will be led by Public Education Partners, Furman University’s Department of Education, and the Riley Institute at Furman. Furman University Press Release

June 2018

The Greenville community will memorialize the work of Greenville native and Furman University graduate Richard W. “Dick” Riley through a sculpture representing his extraordinary public leadership and commitment to quality education for all children. Furman News

May 2018

Inspiration…Where Philanthropy Begins. Since the late 1990s, the Self Family Foundation has made grants to support the expansion of Montessori classrooms throughout the state’s public schools. Now, the foundation has also funded a five-year evaluation of its work. The recently published results – from a study conducted by the Riley Institute at Furman University (the study is available online at – show that children in South Carolina’s public Montessori classrooms outperform their peers on state standardized tests, demonstrate higher levels of creativity, have higher school attendance, and fewer disciplinary incidents. To read this article in its entirety, click here.

January 2018

Study shows SC Montessori students outperform their peers. Index-Journal

New South Carolina Study of Public Montessori Schools Shows Majority Low-Income Students Outperforming Peers. The 74

Landmark Study Finds Positive Impact of Public Montessori Programs in S.C. The study is available online at To read Furman’s Press Release in its entirety, click here.

Does a Montessori Model Work in Public Schools? Ask South Carolina. Education Week

November 2017

National Conference: Climate Change is Real: Now What? November 8 and 9 in Shaw Hall, Younts Conference Center, Furman University. Now we ask: What does that mean for people’s health and livelihoods, for cities and homes, for ecological systems and even for our nation’s security? And, what can we do? Greenville Business Magazine

September 2017

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. On September 18, a thirty-minute highlight reel of Dr. Henry Louis Gates’ documentary, Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise,” was viewed and followed by a conversation with Dr. Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University and an Emmy award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and cultural critic.

Furman University Press Release
Furman News – Gates: Race Discussion Must Be Deep, Inclusive, Fearless
Atlanta Journal Constitution article by Leroy Chapman
Greenville Online

August 2017

StraightTalk 2017: Media and Politics in a Post-Truth Era. In the digital era, spreading made-up news and propaganda is easy—and often profitable. Why is it that false stories are shared so frequently and believed by so many of us? What does this say about the future of real journalism, fact-based news and how the public understands the country’s politics and policies?

For three Thursday evenings in August and September, the Riley Institute and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute examined the rise of fake news and propaganda with the annual StraightTalk series.

The Greenville News“Chuck Todd:  ‘Fake news’ claims driven by fear,” by Paul Hyde.
The Greenville News“Chuck Todd headlines Furman series on media, politics and fake news,” by Paul Hyde.
WYFF News 4 (pdf) or click on this link. NBC’s Chuck Todd participated in Furman series:  Media and Politics in a Post-Truth Era
Furman University. Chuck Todd Discusses ‘Media and Politics in a Post-Truth Era’, by Tina Underwood.
Furman PaladinBig Name Media Experts Demystify Fake News at CLP

April 2017

Read about the National Conference, Safe and Free? Civil Liberties and the Fight for National Security, a two-day symposium featuring ten prominent Furman alumni April 10 & 11, 2017 Furman Press Release

June 2016

StraightTalk SC Series 2016 addresses critical issues in early childhood education. Read More

April 2016

Read about APEC 2015 in an article that appeared in USA Today; written by two of the APEC participants, Gray Johnson and Mallary Taylor.

Read about the Spring Emerging Public Leaders award winners, Greer Today

March 2016

E. Richard Walton, Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) Riley Fellow, Upstate Class IX in Spring 2010, penned an article discussing the importance of the International African American Museum spearheaded by former Mayor of Charleston Joe Riley. Walton also mentions the Wilkins Awards Dinner, OneSouthCarolina and the DLI programs. Greenville News

February 2016

APEC 2015 articles: read the Op-Ed article written by two of the APEC participants,Gray Johnson and Mallary Taylor; read an article penned by Erikah Haavie, Contributing Writer for Furman University, about the APEC experience in Manila.

Donald Trump will begin to lose his grip on frontrunner status the more the Republican presidential field consolidates. Read more about Woodrow Wilson Fellow in Residence Peter Hart. The Greenville News

December 2015

Mauldin High senior, Celine Crum, paints a mural at Mauldin Cultural Center for her Emerging Public Leaders‘ service project. Greenville NewsGreenville News

July 2015

To read an op-ed, Charting a better way forward for South Carolina after church killings, by Richard W. Riley and Don Gordon, click here.

Riley Institute at Furman, Duke Energy to help advance diversity leadership in SC following Charleston shootings;Duke Energy Awards Riley Institute $100,000 Grant. To read the press release in its entirety, click here; for an article that appeared in the Greenville Journal, click here; Furman press release Furman press release.

June 2015

Riley Institute Driving Social and Economic Progress. Read more

May 2015

The Eleventh Annual Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards Dinner at the TD Convention Center, Greenville, SC on May 5, 2015. The Greenville News

February 2015

Read about Calder EhrmannGreenville NewsGreenville News

January 2015

Lucas receives Riley Institute Wilkins Legislative Leadership Award. The Hartsville Messenger

Bob Schieffer speaks at the 10th Annual Wilkins Awards Dinner. Statehouse Report

Face the Nation host to keynote Wilkins dinner. Columbia Business Regional Report

Emerging Public Leaders student Brittany Joyce, a senior in Hartsville High School’s International Baccalaureate program, has developed Project PERK, or Police Encouraging Responsibility and Kindness, a program offering gift certificate rewards to students when law enforcement and school resource officers find them making commendable decisions and actions. Read more . . .

September 2014

Riley Institute Driving Social and Economic Progress: Read more

July 2014

Olli and The Riley Institute Present Summer Series, Crisis of The Working Poor. UpstateBizSC

May 2014

Riley Institute Moves South Carolina Forward: Greenville Business Magazine

Richard W. Riley: A Penny for His Thoughts: Greenville Business Magazine

April 2014

President Clinton lauds work of the Riley Institute. Furman University Press Release

Bill Clinton touts diversity. POLITICO

Bill Clinton visits the Peace Center. WSPA7

Bill Clinton gets applause, standing ovation. WYFF4

Clinton talks about love for education, Greenville Online

March 2014

S.C. Lawyers Weekly Recognizes Nelson Mullins’ Riley, Harper. Read more

February 2014

A Tale of Two South Carolinas discussed at the 2014 OneSouthCarolina conference written by Dan Cook.  Free-times

Secretary Richard W. Riley is awarded the Prestigious James A. Kelly Award for Advancing Accomplished Teaching
at Teaching & Learning 2014. Read more

January 2014

Held on the first night of the legislative session, the ninth annual Wilkins Legislative and Civic Leadership Awards dinner featured former U.S. Secretary of Education and two term governor of South Carolina Richard W. Riley as the evening’s speaker. To read, in full, Secretary Riley’s address, “Let’s work together to build a stronger South Carolina,” click here.

July 2013

The 2013 Summer Series: Straight Talk – Healthcare Reform in South Carolina. Guest speakers debated the topic of whether Medicaid Expansion is Wrong or Right for South Carolina — a major building block of the federal Affordable Care Act and one of the most contested issues of the legislative session. The Post and Courier

May 2013

Secretary Riley’s granddaughter, Martha Riley Smith, receives a letter of praise for her exemplary teaching,  Read more

“Gov. Richard Riley: Still changing the world, quietly” by Phil Noble.  Read more

February 2013

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be the keynote speaker for the 2013 Law & Society Symposium held in Charleston Monday, April 15, 2013. Read more

January 2013

Secretary Riley celebrates his 80th birthday!  Read more

October 2012

Richard W. Riley has a knack for being chosen. Read Town Magazine issue dated October 31, 2012

September 2012

A group of artists, comedians, and editors from around the world, hosted by The Global Visitors Center at Furman, will be touring Greenville’s vibrant art scene and learning “how innovative arts programming can be instrumental in managing conflicts… and promoting peace, tolerance and mutual understanding. Read Furman’s Press Release.

March 2012

Wilson High School IB student Aryana Derakhshan, a 2011-12 Emerging Public Leaders participant, collected more than 7,000 pounds of food by organizing the Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive to benefit Harvest Hope Food Bank.

Read more about her community project in the Pee Dee News

November 2011

In November 2011, four students — Katie Fearington ’14 (Political Science major), Chris Picardi ’12 (Economics and Spanish major), Alyssa Richarson ’12 (Economics and Political Science major) and Jane Sanders ”12 (Political Science and Spanish major) — along with Cleve Fraser, Professor of Political Science and Ken Peterson, Professor of Economics, departed to Honolulu for a week, where they served as citizen diplomats to the APEC conference.

Read articles from Star Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii about the Voices of the Future Program, and from the U.S. Department of Treasury, about our students meeting with finance ministers with a quote from one of our students, Alyssa Richardson.

October 2011

Liberian President Ellen John Sirleaf is named one of the three women’s rights activists to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Read more

August 2011

The Greenville Drive celebrates the city’s 180th birthday by honoring Secretary Riley, who “helped shape this city into a dynamic community.”   The Greenville News

July 2011

Richard W. Riley speaks about his leadership lessons.  The Washington Post

“Civil War’s legacy lives on, even after 150 years.” Read an article written by Chandra Dillard, Greenville Online.  Also, read an Op-Ed by E. Richard Walton: “Black leaders to speak at Furman forum on Civil War and civil rights”, Greenville Online.

Diversity Leaders Initiative graduate Jeffrey Graham (DLI Midlands Class III, Spring 2010) became the youngest South Carolina mayor at 26 in 2008 and has another first: being the first president of the new Assocation of S.C. Mayors.
The State

Diversity Leaders Initiative graduate Heather Simmons Jones (DLI Upstate Class VII, Fall 2008) was elected as president of The S.C. Economic Developers’ Association during the association’s annual conference in Myrtle Beach. Columbia Regional Business Report 

Diversity Leaders Initiative members of the Dream Builders Group (DLI Upstate Class XI, Spring 2011) have gone live with their website for the MLK Jr. Memorial Dedication Tour that will take place this fall.  For more information on the tour, visit their website.

June 2011

“Democracy thrives when communities work together to build public interest in education.”  Read Richard W. Riley’s article on “Civic Investment and the ‘Skyboxing’ of Education.”  Education Week 

“Parents can help children avoid summer slump” penned by Terry Plumb, a retired newspaper editor from Rock Hill and a Diversity Leaders Initiative graduate of the Midlands Class IV. He  wrote this article as part of the group’s community project, START: Summer’s Timeless Adventure, Read Today!  The State

April 2011

Young leader, Joni Ware, unveils ‘Worth the Wait?’  Joni, a senior at Broome High School, Spartanburg, SC, participated in the Riley Institute’s Emerging Public Leaders Program the summer of 2010.  Ware spearheaded a teen abstinence program at Broome High School.  To read more about her project, click here.

March 2011

“Turning the Page on the Equity Debate in Education.  How to Give All Children a Real Opportunity” by Richard W. Riley and Arthur L. Coleman.  American Educator

‘Education was the main thing’  Integrity, tenacity served Richard Riley as SC Governor and Secretary of Education. Most of all, he never gave up.  The State

Juana Slade, the director of diversity and language services at AnMed Healthin Anderson and a graduate of the Diversity Leadership Initiative, Upstate Class II, has been named chairwomen of the United Way National Women’s Leadership Council.  GSA Business

WhatWorksSC Adds New Section On School Leadership. UpstateBizSC

January 2011

On January 25th, an overflowing crowd attended the Sixth Annual Wilkins Awards Dinner which honored and celebrated the leadership of Wes Hayes, state senator from Rock Hill, and Minor Mickel Shaw, community leader from Greenville. MidlandsBiz

December 2010

Kenan Sakarcan, a senior from Spring Valley High School, Columbia, SC, participated in the Riley Institute’s Emerging Public Leaders Program the summer of 2010.  As a requirement of the program, each participant develops and implements a community project and comes back to Furman in March of the following year to present the results. Kenan was on a mission to collect 150 sleeping bags in a plan called “Got Warmth?”.  His idea was sparked by his concern over nine homeless people dying last year due to exposure. To read more about his project, click here.


March 2010

The S.C. Arts Foundation presented former S.C. Governor and U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley with the McNair Award for his leadership and dedication to the arts and arts education in S.C. Read more . . .

Governor Christine Todd Whitman commented that clean air, not climate, should be the focus of energy talks. Whitman, who served two terms as the first female governor of New Jersey from 1994-2001 and in the cabinet of President George W. Bush as EPA administrator from 2001-03, spoke at Furman on March 2nd.  Read more . . .

Alternative fuels technology, if developed and built in this country, could lead a manufacturing renaissance and help
pull the nation out of recession, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former chief economist for the Council of Economic Advisors. Holtz-Eakin spoke at a Greenville luncheon sponsored by the Riley Institute at Furman.  Read more . . .

February 2010

The Charleston School of Law and the Riley Institute at Furman University partnered for the second annual Law & Society Series Symposium February 18-19 that focused on the topic of crime and punishment.  Read more . . .

January 2010

Over 500 legislators and leaders from across the state of South Carolina came to Columbia to honor Daniel T. Cooper, a member of the South Carolina State House of Representatives from District 10 in Anderson County. Cooper was awarded the fifth annual David Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership.  Read media releases about this event: Anderson Independent-MailThe State, The Greenville News

November 2009

Four students – Kelly Cressy, Dez Clodfelter, Cary Fontana, and Hannah Johnson – stepped outside the classroom and took studies to Singapore’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference.   Read an article penned by Dez Clodfelter that appeared in The Greenville News, and stories that appeared in Engage Furmanthe APEC “Voices of the Future” Newsletter, and Channel NewsAsia; to view the students’ blog, click here

April 2009

Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the first woman elected to lead an African nation and she won the presidency in 2005 with almost 60 percent of the vote.  Sirleaf is a graduate of Harvard University and a former World Bank economist.  Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf spoke at Furman on April 13th.  Read the media releases about her visit:  Furman University press release; The Greenville NewsSCBIZallAfrica.comThe Greenville NewsThe Washington Post penned by Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; and a video clip from WYFF4.

Minister Xie Feng, deputy chief of mission at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, and a participant of the “China’s Global Rise: International Relations in an Era of Change” conference, said the state’s exports to China have increased 522 percent from 2000 to 2008 while exports to other countries have increased 126 percent. That growth occurred as U.S. exports to China increased by 360 percent compared with 67 percent export growth to other countries.  Read more . . .

Dr. Kate Kaup, Chair of the Furman University Asian Studies Department and Executive Manager of the China’s Global Rise Series, writes, “At few moments in history has there been a greater need for increased cooperation between the United States and China. The two mammoths are inextricably linked in the current financial crisis, both relying on the other for a way out.” Read more . . .

January 2009

The Charleston School of Law and the Riley Institute at Furman co-hosted the inaugural symposium of the Law & Society Series in Charleston on January 15 – 16, 2009.  The  two-day symposium focused on state constitutional reform in the 21st century. Read about the symposium: Furman’s press releaseThe Post and CourierThe Greenville NewsThe Charleston Regional Business JournalSCBIZ, and The Post and Courier.

Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a member of the South Carolina State House of Representatives (Orangeburg County in District 66), received the Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership. To read articles about Gilda Cobb-Hunter being named the recipient of this award, The Greenville NewsThe Times and Democrat,SCBIZ News, and Furman’s press release; and for an article following the event, The Times and Democrat.

November 2008

In November 2008, five Furman seniors and two professors boarded a plane for Lima, Peru to attend the Leadership Week of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The group was comprised of political science majors Abby Elsener, Rachael Parrish, and Matt Springate, along with economics majors Emily Hunter and Evelyn McKinney. View the students’ blog and an editorial submitted to The Greenville News penned by Matt Springate.

September 2008

The Right Honorable Eibhlin Byrne, The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Ireland, visited Furman University on September 17, 2008 and delivered a public address, “Moving the Celtic Tiger: Civic Leadership in 21st Century Dublin.”  Read more about this event in The Greenville Magazine and Furman’s student publication, The Paladin

March 2008

The United States Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, a Furman graduate, offered a public address on global intelligence and U.S. national security. View the transcript of McConnell’s address and articles in The Greenville News dated March 28 and March 29.

January 2008

South Carolina Senator Hugh K. Leatherman, who represents Darlington and Florence counties in District 31, was named the winner of the third annual David Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership. For articles about this event, view the following: Furman’s news release, an article written about Hugh Leatherman by the Florence Morning NewsMidlandsBIZ, and Florence Morning News

April 2007

The European Union and the United States: Partners for Peace or Global Competitors?” featured addresses by Jean-David Levitte, French Ambassador to the U.S., and Alexander Stubb, a Furman alumnus and member of the European Parliament of Finland.  Read more about this event: FUnet article, The Greenville News and Furman’s press release.

November 2006

Five Furman students—Kristen Capogrossi, Daniella Fergusson, Webb McArthur, Ke Ji, and Cindy Youssef—along with Dr. Brent Nelsen, Professor of Political Science, had the opportunity to participate in the APEC “Voices of the Future” program held November 13-19, 2006 in Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. For the students’ blog, click here; for articles about their experience: The Greenville NewsThe State and Furman’s news release, click here.

For news about the Riley Institute’s Center for Education Policy and Leadership project, click here.

For news about the Riley Institute’s statewide Diversity Leaders Initiative program, click here.