As a two-term governor of South Carolina in the 1980s, Richard Riley won national recognition for his successful education improvements. In 1992, President Clinton named him as the nation’s chief education officer. As Secretary of Education, Riley helped launch historic initiatives to raise academic standards; improve instruction for the poor and disadvantaged; expand the teaching force; expand grant and loan programs to help more Americans go to college; prepare young people for the world of work; and improve teaching. Since leaving his national post in January 2001, Riley has rejoined the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough with offices throughout South Carolina , as well as in Atlanta , Charlotte and Munich . He also has been appointed Distinguished Professor at his alma mater, Furman University, where he serves as Advisory Board Chair of the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics, and Public Leadership. Additionally, Riley has been named Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina and Distinguished Senior Fellow at NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
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