Richard Riley Honored with S.C. Advocacy Award
COLUMBIA (Oct. 16, 2012) The S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center has awarded Richard W. Riley the 2012 Advocate of the Year Award. Each year, the Appleseed board recognizes a South Carolinian who has worked to improve the lives of disadvantaged citizens in this state.
"This is really a lifetime achievement award," Chris Koon, chair of the Appleseed Board, said in presenting the award.
Riley served as S.C. governor from 1979-87, during which time he improved funding and support for education, most notably through the EIA (Education Improvement Act). He also was instrumental in achieving the Medically Indigent Assistance Act, the first statewide program in the nation providing medical care to the indigent, Mr. Koon said. His Employment Revitalization Act sought to bring more effective coordination of occupational training statewide, and the Omnibus Crime Bill strengthened sentences for violent crimes and addressed prison overcrowding. The Public Service Commission Merit Selection bill sought to appoint commission members based on their merits rather than cronyism.
As a champion of the arts, he helped establish the first statewide Governor’s School, the School for the Arts and Humanities, in Greenville. He also played a key role in the creation of the State Museum in Columbia.
In 1992, President Clinton tapped Dick Riley to serve as Secretary of Education. In that role, he 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.
Secretary Riley has resumed his law practice at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, and his public service has continued. He has served as a board member of the Albert Shanker Institute, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to advancing democratic ideals and improving the quality of public education. He also serves as an Honorary Co-Chair for the World Justice Project launched by the American Bar Association in 2006, which is now an independent non-profit focusing on human rights, labor, public health, and business.
Among his other honors, he was 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, which was created in his honor in 1999. In 2000, Winthrop University also renamed its college of education after Dick Riley. In 2008, Walden University in Minnesota followed suit.
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