Alexander, Andrew Lamar, Jr., American politician, b. Maryville, Tn., Vanderbilt Univ. (B.A., 1962); New York Univ. (J.D., 1965). The son of educators, Alexander studied at Vanderbilt Univ. where he edited the school newspaper, pushing for the admission of African-Americans at the school. Following his law degree, he clerked for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for a year, and then served as a staffer for Senator HowardBaker and on President Richard Nixon ’s staff. In 1970, he oversaw the winning election of Winfield Dunn as Tennessee’s first Republican governor in 50 years. He then went into private legal practice before unsuccessfully running for governor himself in 1974; four years later, he was elected governor, serving for two terms. He was the Chair of the National Governors Association from 1985-86. Alexander was known for advocating educational reforms in his state, and subsequently served as president of the Univ. of Tennessee (1988-1991) and US Secretary of Education (1991-1993) under George H.W. Bush. Alexander was elected to the US Senate in 2002, serving until his retirement in 2020, including stints as the Republican party’s Conference Chair in 2007-12 and the Chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (2015-21). Alexander twice ran unsuccessfully to be the Republican candidate for President in 1996 and 2000.
See his autobiography (1995); study by K. Hunt (2017).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies