George P. Shultz

Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow
Awards and Honors:
Economic Club of New York Award for Leadership Excellence
(2011)
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Philosophical Society
Biography: 

George Pratt Shultz has had a distinguished career in government, in academia, and in the world of business. He is one of two individuals who have held four different federal cabinet posts; he has taught at three of this country’s great universities; and for eight years he was president of a major engineering and construction company.

Shultz was born in New York City on December 13, 1920, and grew up in Englewood, New Jersey. He attended Princeton University, graduating in 1942 with a BA in economics. Shortly after graduation, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps and served through 1945. He then resumed his studies, this time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he earned a PhD in industrial economics in 1949. From 1948 to 1957 he taught at MIT, taking a leave of absence in 1955 to serve as a senior staff economist on President Eisenhower’s Council of Economic Advisers.

In 1957, Shultz joined the faculty of the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business as a professor of industrial relations. He was named dean five years later. From 1968 to 1969 he was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He returned to government when he was appointed secretary of labor by President Nixon in 1969. In June 1970, he became the first director of the newly formed Office of Management and Budget. In May 1972, he was named secretary of the Treasury, a post he held for two years. During this period, Shultz also served as chairman of the Council on Economic Policy, negotiated a series of trade protocols with the Soviet Union, and represented the United States at the Tokyo meeting on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

Shultz left government service in 1974 to become president and director of the Bechtel Group, where he remained until 1982. While at Bechtel, he maintained close ties with the academic world by joining the faculty of Stanford University.

Shultz held two key positions in the Reagan administration: chairman of the President’s Economic Policy Advisory Board (1981–82) and secretary of state (1982–89). As secretary of state, he played a key role in implementing a foreign policy that led to the successful conclusion of the Cold War and the development of strong relationships between the United States and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region including China, Japan, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

After leaving office, Shultz rejoined the Bechtel Group as director and senior counselor. He also rejoined Stanford as professor of international economics at the Graduate School of Business and as a distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution. In 2001, Shultz was named the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

In January 1989, Shultz was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. He is also a recipient of the Seoul Peace Prize (1992), the West Point Sylvanus Thayer Award (1992), the Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service (2001), the Reagan Distinguished American Award (2002), and the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training’s Ralph Bunche Award for Diplomatic Excellence (2002). Other honors awarded in 2002 include the Elliot Richardson Prize for Excellence and Integrity in Public Service, the James H. Doolittle Award, and the John Witherspoon Medal for Distinguished Statesmanship. The George Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center in Arlington, Virginia, was dedicated in a ceremony on May 29, 2002. Shultz was named a distinguished fellow of the American Economic Association in 2005 and received the American Spirit Award from the National World War II Museum in 2006. In 2007, he received the George Marshall Award from the United States Agency for International Development and the Truman Medal for Economic Policy. He received the Rumford Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008 and the Commandant’s Leadership Award from the Marine Corps–Law Enforcement Foundation in 2009. In 2011, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Distinguished Citizen Award and the first Economic Club of New York Award for Leadership Excellence. In 2012, he was presented with a Democracy Service Medal by the National Endowment for Democracy and received the Henry A. Kissinger Prize at the American Academy in Berlin. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation dedicated the Global Issues and Reagan-Gorbachev Summits Galleries in his honor in June 2012.

Shultz’s publications include Learning from Experience (Hoover Institution Press, October 2016); Issues on My Mind: Strategies for the Future (Hoover Institution Press, 2013); The Nuclear Enterprise: High-Consequence Accidents: How to Enhance Safety and Minimize Risks in Nuclear Weapons and Reactors (Hoover Institution Press, 2012), coedited with Sidney Drell; Ideas & Action: Featuring 10 Commandments for Negotiations (2010); Ending Government Bailouts as We Know Them (Hoover Institution Press 2010), coedited with Kenneth E. Scott and John Taylor; Putting Our House in Order: A Citizen’s Guide to Social Security and Health Care Reform, with John B. Shoven (2008); Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State (1993); Economic Policy beyond the Headlines, with Kenneth Dam (1977); Workers and Wages in the Urban Labor Market, with Albert Rees (1970); Guidelines, Informal Controls, and the Marketplace, with Robert Aliber (1966); Strategies for the Displaced Worker: Confronting Economic Change, with Arnold Weber (1966); Management Organization and the Computer, with Thomas Whisler (eds.) (1960); Labor Problems: Cases and Readings, with John Coleman (1959); The Dynamics of a Labor Market, with Charles Myers (1951); Pressures on Wage Decisions (1951); "Case Study No. 10," with Robert P. Crisara, in Causes of Industrial Peace under Collective Bargaining (1951); and "Case Study No. 7," with Charles A. Myers, in Causes of Industrial Peace under Collective Bargaining (1950).

Shultz holds honorary degrees from Notre Dame, Columbia, Loyola, University of Pennsylvania, Rochester, Princeton, Carnegie-Mellon, City University of New York, Yeshiva University, Weizmann Institute of Science, Baruch College of New York, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tbilisi State University in the Republic of Georgia, Technion, Keio University in Tokyo, Williams College, and Peking University.

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Recent Commentary

Give Choice a Chance

by George P. Shultzvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Hoover fellow George P. Shultz helped make possible the triumph of freedom abroad. Now he’d like to see it triumph in America’s schools.

Sidebar: This Is an Act of War

by George P. Shultzvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, October 30, 2001

This is an act of war, remarks by former secretary of state and Hoover fellow George P. Shultz.

George Shultz

ENEMY AT THE GATES: The War on Terrorism

with George P. Shultzvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, September 25, 2001

We asked George Shultz, secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan, to help us put America's war on terrorism in historical, political, and moral context. What lessons can be drawn from previous attempts to deal with terrorism? What should we make of the complaints leveled against the United States by terrorist organizations? What will it take to win the war on terrorism and how long will it last?

A CRACK IN THE ICE: The Legacy of the Reykjavik Summit

with George P. Shultz, Hendrik Hertzbergvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, August 21, 2000

In 1986, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met in Reykjavik, Iceland, to discuss nuclear arms control. The American and Russian leaders negotiated boldly, pushing each other far past the limits of previous arms control agreements. Reagan and Gorbachev were soon close to an agreement to eliminate all nuclear weapons. The stopping point: Gorbachev insisted that America's Strategic Defensive Initiative, or "Star Wars" be scrapped. Reagan refused, and no agreements were reached. What is the legacy of the Reykjavik Summit? Was it a failure, a historic opportunity squandered? Or was it the beginning of the end of the Cold War?

The Secretary Testifies

by George P. Shultzvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, July 30, 2000

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently asked Hoover fellow and former secretary of state George P. Shultz to grade the performance of the International Monetary Fund. He gave it an F.

One World, One Bank

by George P. Shultzvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, July 30, 1998

In an increasingly integrated global economy, the International Monetary Fund has become desperately obsolete. Hoover fellow and former U.S. secretary of state George P. Shultz makes the case for merging it with the World Bank.

Triple Threat

by William J. Perry, George P. Shultz, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, July 30, 1998

Hoover fellows William J. Perry and George P. Shultz—the former secretaries of defense and state—recently spent a morning talking with Hoover fellow Peter Robinson. Asked about three security concerns—Russia, China, and terrorism—the former secretaries were reassuring, but only on two out of three.

Who Needs the IMF?

by George P. Shultz, William E. Simon Jr., Walter B. Wristonvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, April 30, 1998

The International Monetary Fund has pledged to help bail out the economies of Southeast Asia—thereby making matters worse. Why the IMF is "ineffective, unnecessary, and obsolete." By Hoover fellow, former U.S. secretary of state, and former U.S. secretary of the treasury George P. Shultz; Hoover overseer and former U.S. secretary of the treasury William E. Simon; and former Citicorp chairman Walter B. Wriston.

George Shultz

Diplomacy, Wired

by George P. Shultzvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 30, 1998

Hoover fellow and former Secretary of State George P. Shultz considers diplomacy in the age of the World Wide Web. His conclusion? Less has changed than you might think.

NATIONAL INSECURITY

with George P. Shultz, William J. Perryvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, October 23, 1997

George Shultz, former secretary of state and distinguished fellow, Hoover Institution, and William Perry, former secretary of defense and senior fellow, Hoover Institution, continue their discussion on the threats and challenges facing the United States in a post-Cold War World.

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