IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, known to students as SPEA, has been renamed after former secretary of the U.S. Treasury Paul H. O’Neill in honor of his career and $30 million gift to the school.
The school was ranked the top public affairs graduate program by U.S. News and World Report in 2018, and O'Neill's gift is intended to maintain that success. It will start the Paul H. O’Neill Center on Leadership in Public service, a dean’s initiatives fund, a scholarship program, a fellowship program and a variety of new professor and faculty positions, according to an IU press release.
“My hope is that the school remains a place of excellence where future leaders can combine passion with action and develop the confidence they need to engage with society's greatest challenges and opportunities,” O’Neill said in the press release.
O’Neill, who served under President George W. Bush from January 2001 to December 2002, received his Master of Public Administration from IU in 1966. He started working at the Veterans Administration, now the Department of Veterans Affairs, in 1961 before coming to IU, and through the government’s Education for Public Management program started attending the university, according to the press release.
After IU, O’Neill worked various private, public and nonprofit jobs, at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, International Paper Co., RAND Corp. and Alcoa. He also co-founded the Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative, a nonprofit to address regional health care problems, before he was appointed Secretary of Treasury.
SPEA officially became the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs on March 4 after the Board of Trustees approved the change Dec. 7. A formal ceremony is being planned for later in the year, according to the press release.