William ‘Bill’ Daley to discuss roles of corporations in society as he donates papers to UIC

Bill Daley at the White House
Then-President Bill Clinton speaks with William “Bill” Daley as former President Jimmy Carter stands in the background, circa 2000. Official White House Photograph. William M. Daley papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago.

For several decades, William “Bill” Daley has been able to use his unique role at the intersection of business, government and public service to extend Chicago’s influence on the national stage both as a former commerce secretary and later as chief of staff to President Barack Obama.

Daley will be tapping into his experience as a business and political leader both locally and nationally as he presents the Wiewel Lecture on Economic Development, “Corporations & Humanity: Why They Belong Together,” at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“Mr. Daley’s views on the market economy and government-supported economic development programs are informed by his decades-long experience in both the private and public spheres. He’s among a handful who can speak with authority about the moral obligations of private enterprise,” said Michael Pagano, dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs.

Bill Daley Headshot
William “Bill” Daley

In addition, UIC is announcing that Daley has chosen to make UIC the repository for his collection of papers and artifacts, which are now publicly available. His papers join those of his father, Richard J. Daley, and his brother, Richard M. Daley, which are also available to researchers and students in the Special Collections and University Archives of his father’s namesake Richard J. Daley Library.

October 23
4 p.m. (Lecture begins at 4:15 p.m. with reception to follow)

Academic and Residential Complex
940 W. Harrison St., Room 137

Daley’s lecture will discuss how corporations have moved away from the role that “shareholder wealth maximization” served as the sole purpose of a corporation. As a former commerce secretary, chief of staff for two presidents and as current vice chairman with oversight of government affairs, philanthropy and social responsibility for BNY Mellon, Daley is in a unique position to answer questions of how public and private investment can advance economic growth and also promote humanity.

“I am very pleased to be donating my papers to the University of Illinois at Chicago, which plays such a vital role in preserving Chicago’s history and advancing dialogue on the important roles that cities like Chicago will play in America’s future. I’m equally excited to be participating as a lecturer in the series and look forward to engaging with the students,” Daley said.

Over the years, Daley has held high-level executive positions, including serving as managing partner and head of U.S. Operations for Argentière Capital, vice chair and chairman of the Midwest region and head of corporate responsibility at JPMorgan Chase and as president of SBC Communications.

Bill Daley
Commerce Secretary William Daley sits with John F. Sandner and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on a panel to discuss global trade in 1999. William M. Daley papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago.

After earning a political science degree from Loyola University, he went on to earn his law degree from John Marshall Law School in 1975, now known as UIC John Marshall Law School. Between 1975 and 1985, he worked with the law firm of Daley and George before going on to be a partner with Mayer, Brown, and Platt. He also served in several positions with the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago.

To coincide with his lecture, UIC is announcing that Daley has donated more than 32 linear feet of documents, including records, correspondence, photographs, speeches, newspaper clippings and other materials related to his work in national politics. Daley served as commerce secretary from 1997 to 2000 under President Bill Clinton. In addition, he worked on the contentious 2000 presidential campaign of Al Gore and then served as chief of staff to President Obama between 2011 to 2012.

After helping Clinton carry Illinois in the 1992 election, the following year he was tapped to serve as special counsel to the president on the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, and helped garner support in Congress to pass the trade pact. After working on Clinton’s successful re-election campaign in 1996, he was tapped to serve on Clinton’s cabinet as Secretary of Commerce.

During his time with the Clinton administration, he overhauled the department, conducted several major trade missions and began focusing on the new e-commerce industry. He then went on to take over former Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaign, which ended up decided by a Supreme Court decision in favor of George W. Bush.

We are grateful to William Daley for honoring UIC with the donation of his papers documenting his legacy in the national public service arena,” said Mary Case, university librarian and dean of libraries. “Researchers and students interested in national politics and international commerce will find rich primary source material in these records. The addition of William Daley’s papers to the Library’s Daley family archive enhances the story of one of the most influential families in public and business life in Chicago and the country in the second half of the 20th century.”

The UIC Wiewel Lecture on Economic Development is made available by a gift to the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and the College of Business Administration. The event is co-sponsored by the University Library and the UIC John Marshall Law School.

The event is free and open to the public with RSVP.  Please RSVP here or email: jennys@uic.edu

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