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Jim Hanchett
School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Last modified: Monday, February 27, 2012

Former treasury secretary takes active role at Indiana University and makes large donation

Feb. 27, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill is giving $100,000 to Indiana University, where he earned a master's degree in public administration. The gift is consistent with O'Neill's deep involvement with the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

"This is a generous gift that will benefit our students for years to come," said SPEA Dean John Graham. "That it comes from a true public servant of Paul O'Neill's stature, and that he is an Indiana University graduate, makes it even more meaningful."

O'Neill designated his gift for the Lynton Keith Caldwell Professorship in International Environmental Studies. When fully funded, the Caldwell Professorship will bring a pioneering thinker in the field to SPEA and enhance what is already a highly regarded program that focuses on environmental issues that increasingly cross borders and continents. The endowment that supports this faculty position is invested by the Indiana University Foundation.

O'Neill offered the gift because of his admiration for Caldwell. O'Neill earned his MPA in the federal Advanced Studies in Public Policy Program led by the widely admired professor. He went on to become secretary of the treasury and CEO of Alcoa and continues to cite Caldwell as a pivotal influence on his career, Graham said.

O'Neill makes frequent visits to the IU campus and is in Bloomington for a visit that ends Tuesday evening. He will meet with university leaders, SPEA scholars and students and will make a presentation titled "The Use of Cost Benefit Analysis at the Federal Level."

"Paul O'Neill's gift of his time is as significant as his financial gifts, and we are grateful for both," Graham said.

The School of Public and Environmental Affairs is preparing to celebrate its 40th anniversary. It is the largest school of public affairs in the nation and offers top-ranked degree programs in public affairs, environmental science, health services administration, public health, criminal justice and arts administration.

Lynton Keith Caldwell was a key figure in the early years of SPEA. He was a longtime environmental affairs professor and is considered the principal architect of the groundbreaking National Environmental Policy Act. Caldwell retired from IU in 1984 and died in 2006 at the age of 92.

In addition to studying under Caldwell and graduating from IU, O'Neill worked in government agencies and the nonprofit and private sectors. Living in Pittsburgh, his adopted home town, he rose to become CEO of industrial giant Alcoa and led the company to dramatic revenue growth over a 12-year period. He was then named secretary of the treasury in 2001 by President George W. Bush and served for two years. O'Neill has remained active in a variety of civic, corporate and philanthropic roles since leaving the Bush administration.