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Former Treasury Secretary, IU alum Paul O'Neill dies at age 84

Posted at 1:54 PM, Apr 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 13:54:56-04

PITTSBURGH — Paul O’Neill, a former Treasury secretary who broke with George W. Bush over tax policy and then produced a book critical of the administration, died Saturday in Pittsburgh, according to his son. He was 84.

A former head of aluminum giant Alcoa, O’Neill served as Treasury secretary from 2001 to late 2002. He was forced to resign after he objected to a second round of tax cuts because of their impact on deficits.

After leaving the administration, O’Neill worked with author Ron Suskind on an explosive book covering his two years in the administration.

O'Neill earned his master of public administration degree from Indiana University in 1966. In 1967, he joined the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, serving as deputy director from 1974 to 1977.

IU president Michael A. McRobbie said the university will forever be grateful to O'Neill, who provided $30 million gift to the school that will provide student scholarships, faculty fellowships and a new center on public on leadership in public service. The O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs was dedicated in September 2019.

“Paul O’Neill was an extraordinary leader who, in his more than five decades working in the public and private sector, embodied the very ideals we strive to impart in our students,” McRobbie said. “His was a life and career marked by unwavering integrity, extraordinary vision, dedication to public and community service, questioning of conventional wisdom and respect and concern for all people.

"He also possessed a strong belief in the enormous power of education to transform lives and to develop the kinds of public sector leaders and decision-makers who will be needed to solve our society’s most vexing challenges."

O’Neill is survived by his wife, Nancy; four children; 12 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.