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Citadel News Service
7 Nov 2014

One of America’s longest serving mayors returning to The Citadel

Joseph P. Riley, Jr., to be first occupant of academic chair created in his honor

The Honorable Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. will return to his alma mater, The Citadel, to be the first occupant of the Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Endowed Chair of American Government and Public Policy when he retires from his elected position as mayor of the city of Charleston in January of 2016. Riley, who graduated from The Military College of South Carolina in 1964 with a degree in political science, will have been mayor for 40 years when he steps down. 

The Riley Chair was announced during a news conference on the historic campus of The Citadel on Friday, November 7, where the college's President, Provost, Board of Visitors, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, faculty, students, and special guests joined the mayor to congratulate him.

"The three major blocks in the early foundation of my personal and professional life were my family, my church and my education and training at The Citadel," Riley said to the crowd gathered on Summerall Field in front of the barracks he once occupied. "It is an especially great honor to be able to help guide our nation's next leaders as the first in the line of Riley Professors at The Citadel. I look forward to my time ahead with cadets and Citadel colleagues, as well as my continuing work in our remarkable community." That work will include continuing, as The Citadel's Riley Professor and his association with the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston.

Riley is one of the most important figures in American municipal government over the last half-century. He served in the South Carolina General Assembly from 1968-1974. He has been mayor longer than almost anyone in US history who was elected in non-partisan contests. Riley is often credited with "saving" Charleston after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, aiding the stranded and garnering millions of dollars to repair the city. His administration is also credited with fostering economic growth strategies that have earned Charleston a global reputation as one of the most desirable places in which to do business, live and visit.

"On behalf of The Citadel I am pleased to welcome Mayor Riley as he agrees to return to riley met wife charlotte on campus of The Citadelhis alma mater after leading Charleston so successfully for four decades," said Citadel President, Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa. "Faculty, staff, cadets, students, alumni and donors are looking forward to attending his lectures on campus and learning firsthand, from one of America's greatest mayors, how he applied principled leadership to his work to make Charleston such an exceptional place."

At the event, Riley formally accepted the Chair, which will be housed within the Department of Political Science of The Citadel's School Humanities and Social Sciences. Efforts are underway by The Citadel Foundation to raise a minimum of $2.5 million to endow the position.

"Under Mayor Riley's guidance, Charleston has become a vital center of creative partnerships between representatives of different political parties, various levels of Joseph P. Riley's senior yearbook photo 1964government, and the private sector," noted Bo Moore, dean of the School of Humanities & Social Sciences. "It demonstrates that officials who are ethical, skilled in the principles of good leadership, and put the interests of the people they serve above their own can still govern very effectively, make a great difference for the better, and earn the confidence of their constituents. Now more than ever these are important lessons to learn and we feel very fortunate that one of our most successful native sons will be coming home to help teach them to South Carolina's, and the nation's, next generation of prospective leaders."

Riley will write his memoirs, be interviewed for an extensive oral history of his life and career, lecture on campus and help arrange guest lectures by other distinguished public servants while serving as the college's first Riley Professor.

About The Citadel

The Citadel is a four-year, public college in historic Charleston, South Carolina. The Citadel offers a classic military college education for young men and women profoundly focused on leadership excellence and academic distinction. Graduates are not required to serve in the military but about

30 percent of each class commission as officers in every branch of U.S. military service. Graduates of The Citadel have served the nation, their state and their community as principled leaders since the college was founded in 1842. The Citadel Graduate College offers more than 40 Master's degrees and graduate certificates in a wide range of disciplines, plus five undergraduate programs, through an all-evening schedule. Some graduate courses are available online.

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