U.S. secretary of state
George Pratt Shultz is an economist and Republican presidential adviser known best as the secretary of state under Ronald Reagan. An academic who thrust himself into politics, 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. He served as secretary of labor, director of the Office of Management and Budget and secretary of the treasury under Nixon.
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 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 term, staying out of the spotlight and emerging unscathed from the Iran-Contra scandal. Shultz has since continued his long association with Bechtel as a board member, and has been a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution since 1989. A Washington insider with close ties to military contractors, Shultz has been the target of critics who argue that his brand of free-market economics encourages perpetual armed conflict and benefits the haves more than the have-nots. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1989.