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Jana Wilson
School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Last modified: Friday, October 29, 2010

O'Neill to speak at IU on truth and leadership

Oct. 29, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Former Secretary of the Treasury Paul H. O'Neill will return to Indiana University Bloomington next week to speak at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

The lecture, titled "Truth, Transparency and Leadership," will take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 3) in room 169 of the SPEA Building, 1315 E. 10th St. It is free and open to the public.

O'Neill, who has a Master of Public Affairs degree from Indiana University, has been a widely respected leader in the government, business and nonprofit sectors. He headed Alcoa Inc. and International Paper and served as chairman of the RAND Corp.

Probably best known for his time in government, he was secretary of the treasury under President George W. Bush from early 2001 until December 2002. He was deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1974 to 1977.

O'Neill began his government career 50 years ago as a systems analyst in the Veterans Administration. He was an official with the Office of Management and Budget in the Nixon and Ford administrations and chaired an advisory group on education for President George H.W. Bush.

"I went to Washington in 1961 because I believed what Kennedy said: 'If you want to make a difference, come here.' It sounds corny, but it's true," he said in a 2008 New York Times interview.

O'Neill visited SPEA in September 2009, giving a public lecture on energy and the environment and meeting with students at IU Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

As a member of the Bush cabinet in 2001-02, O'Neill clashed with the president's advisers over tax cuts, environmental regulation and other issues. After leaving office, he said the administration had made decisions on the basis of ideology. His criticisms were captured in the 2004 book The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill, by Ron Suskind.

O'Neill earned his M.P.A. degree from IU Bloomington in 1966, through an academic program that was a forerunner of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.