Richard W. Riley is a senior partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP and its affiliate, EducationCounsel LLC. With offices in Columbia, Greenville, and Washington, he counsels clients on business, governance, financial matters, government processes, and education issues. Additionally, he works with partners to develop strategy in complex business and legal matters. A former U.S. Secretary of Education (1993-2001) and a former Governor of South Carolina (1979-87), Dick Riley, with full support of the Firm, remains an ambassador for improving education in the state, nation, and abroad.
Secretary Riley is a Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of South Carolina and a Distinguished Professor of Government, Politics, and Public Leadership at the Richard W. Riley Institute at Furman University. The College of Education at Winthrop University bears his name, as does the College of Education and Leadership at Walden University.
The Christian Science Monitor has said that many Americans regard Secretary Riley as "one of the great statesmen of education in this (20th) century." During his tenure with the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary Riley helped launch historic initiatives to raise academic standards; improve instruction for the poor and disadvantaged; increase parental involvement in education; expand grants and loans to help more students attend college; and prepare young people in America for the world of work. As Governor of South Carolina, he initiated the Education Improvement Act, heralded to be the "most comprehensive education reform measure in the United States."
A member of the South Carolina Bar and the American Bar Association, Secretary Riley earned a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1959 and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, cum laude, from Furman University in 1954. Secretary Riley is the recipient of numerous national and local awards from education and public service organizations all across the country, as well as honorary degrees from higher education institutions in the United States and abroad.