Economist / U.S. Secretary of State
George Pratt Shultz was an economist and Republican presidential adviser known best as the U.S. Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan
from 1982-89. An academic who thrust himself into politics, George Shultz graduated from Princeton in 1942 with an economics degree, served in the Marine Corps Reserves, and earned a PhD. in Industrial Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He taught at MIT (1948-57), was a professor and dean at the University of Chicago (1962-68) and a fellow at Stanford University's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1968-69) before joining Richard M. Nixon
's administration in 1969. Under Nixon he served as Secretary of Labor, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and then Secretary of the Treasury. He returned to the private sector in 1974, a few months before Nixon's resignation, and became president and director of the Bechtel Group, a San Francisco-based engineering and financial firm. Already serving as an economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan
, Shultz left his post at Bechtel to replace Alexander Haig
as Secretary of State in 1982. He served for the remainder of Reagan's two terms, staying out of the spotlight and emerging unscathed from the Iran-Contra scandal before departing in 1989. After that, Shultz continued his long association with Bechtel as a board member, and was a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. A Washington insider with close ties to military contractors, Shultz was targeted by critics who argued that his brand of free-market economics encouraged perpetual armed conflict and benefited the haves more than the have-nots. His obituary in The Washington Post
noted, "In his later years, Dr. Shultz was regarded as a grandee of the GOP establishment. He sat on many boards, most controversially Theranos, a Silicon Valley-based medical device firm run by Elizabeth Holmes, a charismatic entrepreneur now awaiting trial for fraud." George Schultz was awarded the Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1989. He died in 2021, about two months after celebrating his 100th birthday.