Conversation with Richard F. Celeste, Former U.S. Ambassador to India & Governor of Ohio (Saxbe Auditorium)
February 3, 2015 | 12:10 pm - 1:15 pm
The American Constitution Society, PILF, and The Program on Law and Leadership will welcome Former U.S. Ambassador to India and Governor of Ohio Richard F. Celeste on Tuesday, February 3 in Saxbe Auditorium. Mr. Celeste will share stories about his experiences as a public servant and why it is as important as ever that more motivated young people stay engaged in local, state, and national government.
Celeste began his career in public service in 1963 after returning from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Following his time in England, he served in the staff liaison office in the Peace Corps before moving to India as special assistant to Chester Bowles, the then U.S. Ambassador. Celeste returned to Ohio and was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives from Cuyahoga County in 1970. He was next elected to be the 55th Lieutenant Governor in 1974 and served under a Republican, James A. Rhodes. In 1978, Celeste ran for governor, but lost to incumbent Rhodes. President Carter appointed Celeste to serve as Director of the Peace Corps from 1979-1981.
In 1982, Celeste ran for Governor again and won. He served two terms as Governor of Ohio where he navigated Ohio through the savings and loan crisis, increased support for mental health and addiction recovery services, increased funding for education and children services, all while opening more government positions to African Americans and appointing more women to his cabinet than every previous governor combined. At the end of his second term Celeste, controversially, granted clemency to a number of Ohio prisoners acknowledging the racial disparity in sentencing in Ohio and battered women’s syndrome.
Celeste worked briefly on health care reform for the DNC in 1993. From 1991 until 1997 his firm Celeste and Sabety designed regional and local economic development strategies. In 1997 President Clinton named Celeste as his Ambassador to India.
Celeste most recently retired from his position as the President of Colorado College, which was his longest continuous position anywhere in his long career, at 9 years. He now serves on numerous boards and is responsible for the soon to be built U.S. Olympic museum, which is slated to be break ground in Colorado Springs.