George P. Shultz

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 passed away on February 6, 2021. 

Shultz was the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He had a distinguished career in government, in academia, and in the world of business. Shultz was one of two individuals who have held four different federal cabinet posts; he  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 Thinking about the Future (Hoover Institution Press, June 2019); 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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Analysis and Commentary

George Shultz: A Towering Statesman Who Lived By The Values He Preached

by Condoleezza Rice featuring George P. Shultzvia Politico
Monday, December 27, 2021

George Shultz lived a life so extraordinary that it would seem to have come from a Capra-esque movie script. Over the course of a remarkable career in business, academia and government, he led a major engineering corporation, taught at three universities and was one of only two people to hold four different federal Cabinet posts.

In the News

James A. Baker III ’52: A Tribute To George Shultz ’42

featuring George P. Shultzvia Princeton University
Monday, November 29, 2021

My wife Lori and I flew to California to attend the memorial service for Secretary George Shultz ’42 at Stanford University on October 7. As a result, we missed the multiple Nobel Prize celebrations on Princeton’s campus that week, but we had a unique opportunity to honor and celebrate the life of a man I consider to be among this University’s most admirable alumni. Another of Princeton’s greatest alumni, James A. Baker III ’52, spoke at the event. After the service, I asked Secretary Baker whether I might publish his remarks on this page. He responded by handing his copy of them to me. 

In the News

Secretaries Of State, Politicians Remember George Shultz At Memorial Service

featuring George P. Shultzvia Patch
Monday, October 11, 2021

"Everything I love about America, I found in our friend, George Shultz," said General James Mattis during his speech at former Secretary of State George Shultz's memorial service at Memorial Church on Thursday afternoon. Mattis joined a host of other University and national dignitaries in recognizing Shultz and his extensive accomplishments.

In the News

Secretaries Of State, Politicians Remember George Shultz At Memorial Service

featuring George P. Shultzvia Stanford Daily
Thursday, October 7, 2021

“Everything I love about America, I found in our friend, George Shultz,” said General James Mattis during his speech at former Secretary of State George Shultz’s memorial service at Memorial Church on Thursday afternoon. Mattis joined a host of other University and national dignitaries in recognizing Shultz and his extensive accomplishments.

In the News

Reagan’s Firing Of Striking Air Traffic Controllers Set The Stage For His Presidency

quoting George P. Shultzvia The Washington Times
Thursday, August 5, 2021

The bold decision let our foreign adversaries know he was more than just talk.

Borrowed Time

by George P. Shultz, John F. Cogan, John B. Taylorvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, July 15, 2021

The United States was already on a dangerous debt binge even before the pandemic. More reckless spending will overwhelm investment, growth, and job creation.

Policy InsightsFeatured

America: Growth Of A Young Nation

featuring Condoleezza Rice, Edward Paul Lazear, Larry Diamond, Michael McConnell, H. R. McMaster, George P. Shultz, General Jim Mattisvia PolicyEd
Friday, July 2, 2021

What makes the American experiment unique and what can we do to improve it?

In the News

Stanford Planning New Building To Honor The Late Secretary Of State George Shultz

featuring George P. Shultz, Hoover Institutionvia Palo Alto Daily Post
Monday, May 17, 2021

Stanford wants to tear down one of its buildings connected with the Hoover Institution to construct a new building named after former Secretary of State George Shultz. Note: the story incorrectly states that the current Lou Henry Hoover Building was named after President Hoover’s wife at his request.

In the News

A Company Of Authors

mentioning George P. Shultz, John B. Taylor, Terry M. Moevia Stanford Continuing Studies
Saturday, April 24, 2021

For the eighteenth consecutive year, a distinguished group of Stanford writers and editors will make a brief presentation about their recently published books. This program is hosted by Peter Stansky, Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford. Drop in, or even better, indulge yourself by spending the entire afternoon in the company of these bright, entertaining, and stimulating writers online.

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Remembering George P. Shultz

George Pratt Shultz


In remembrance and honor of George P. Shultz, the family suggests that charitable donations may be made to the George P. Shultz Program Fund at the Hoover Institution. The fund will make it possible to carry on his craft of turning ideas into action in the areas of national security, energy and climate, economics, education, and equality of opportunity.

Contributions may be sent to:

Hoover Institution
George P. Shultz Program Fund
434 Galvez Mall
Stanford, CA 94305

Donations may also be made online here.

Please contact sjmyers [at] stanford.edu (subject: Shultz%20Remembrance%20Fund) (Sara Myers) with any questions.

Celebrating Shultz @100


As we celebrate George P. Shultz, this portal celebrates the first 100 years of his singular legacy and lasting impact. Find 100 facts from 100 years, galleries celebrating his storied legacy and links to articles and essays celebrating his impact.

The Governance Project