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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and former director of President Bill Clinton’s economic transition team, will speak at the University of Tennessee on Oct. 19.

The inaugural speaker for the First Tennessee Foundation Distinguished MBA Speaker Series, Reich’s lecture will begin at 3 p.m. in Alumni Memorial Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Reich, who has served in three presidential administrations, and who also is a best-selling author, prize-winning professor, media commentator and playwright, is considered one of the nation’s leading thinkers about business and the economy.

Now a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, Reich’s latest book, “Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy and Everyday Life,” published in September 2007, argues that capitalism should be separated from democracy. He urges regulations to restore authority to people as citizens, not just as consumers and investors.

While Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, Reich led the Labor Department on several path-breaking initiatives to build the skills of American workers, crack down on unsafe work sites and fraudulent purveyors of pensions and health insurance, and begin a national initiative to abolish sweatshops. He also oversaw the enactment of the Retirement Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the first increase in the minimum wage since 1989.

Reich was an assistant to the solicitor general in the Ford administration where he represented the United States before the Supreme Court, and he headed the policy planning staff of the Federal Trade Commission in the Carter administration.

Reich has been on the faculty at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, at Brandeis University and at Brandeis’ Heller Graduate School.

He is the author of 11 books and more than 200 articles on the global economy, the changing nature of work and the centrality of human capital. Reich’s books include “The Work of Nations,” which has been translated into 22 languages; the best-seller “Locked in the Cabinet,” published by Alfred Knopf; and “The Future of Success,” which in 2002 was ranked by Business Week magazine as the No. 2 best-selling business book. His 2004 book, “Reason,” describes what America can do to achieve both high growth and widespread prosperity.

A consultant to many governments and corporations, Reich’s commentaries are heard weekly on public radio by nearly 5 million people, and his columns appear regularly in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and other major national newspapers. He is co-founder of and contributing editor for The American Prospect magazine and is a regular economic commentator on CNBC.

In late 2003, Reich was awarded the prestigious Václav Havel Prize, in Prague, for his contributions to world thinking and culture.

He also is an accomplished playwright. In the summer of 2005, his play, “Public Exposure,” broke box office records at its world premiere on Cape Cod.

Reich’s visit is funded by the First Tennessee Foundation. The foundation pledged $500,000, to be paid through 2015, to fund annual symposiums featuring high-profile speakers who can address different aspects of business.

“First Tennessee’s signature philanthropy is education, and we are honored to make this outstanding learning opportunity free to the public,” said Pam Fansler, First Tennessee–Knoxville president.

UT’s full-time MBA program is ranked among the best in the country: 9th among programs offered by top-tier public universities and 24th in the nation by Forbes Inc.; 21st among public universities by the Financial Times; and 10th in the U.S. among regional universities by the Wall Street Journal. Its supply chain management/logistics curriculum is ranked 8th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

For more information on UT’s full-time MBA program visit


Cindy Raines, (865) 974-4359,
Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034,