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O'Leary, Hazel  

Erin L. Thompson

cabinet official, lawyer, and energy specialist. Born in Newport News, Virginia, Hazel Rollins Reid was the daughter of Russell E. and Hazel Reid, both doctors. She was raised by her father and stepmother, Hazel Palleman Reid, after her parents divorced when she was eighteen months old. Young Hazel attended a high school for artistically talented youths in New Jersey. She returned to that state for a law degree from Rutgers University in 1966 after having graduated with honors from the historically black Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1959. Reid then worked as an assistant prosecutor in Essex County, New Jersey, and as an assistant attorney general for New Jersey before moving to Washington, D.C., where she became a partner in an accounting firm.

Reid was appointed the general counsel of the Community Services Administration by President Gerald Ford helping run its antipoverty ...


O’Leary, Hazel R.  

Anne M. Heutsche

In one unprecedented moment, President Bill Clinton altered the face of the United States government. He named four African Americans to his cabinet—Hazel O’Leary, Ronald Brown, Jesse Brown, and Alphonso Michael Espy. This was the first time in U.S. history that four African Americans had served in a presidential cabinet. Furthermore, Hazel O’Leary became the first woman to serve as secretary of energy. Clinton appointed O’Leary to the problem-plagued Department of Energy based on her twenty years of experience in both the private and public sectors of fuel and energy industries. In control of an $18 billion budget, O’Leary soon emerged as one of the most influential and powerful women in not only Washington, DC, but throughout the world.

Hazel Rollins Reid was born to two physicians. The couple divorced when Hazel was eighteen months old and the responsibility of her upbringing fell upon her father, Russell ...


O'Leary, Hazel R.  

Janis F. Kearney

U.S. secretary of energy, was born Hazel Reid in Newport News, Virginia, the youngest of two daughters of Dr. Russell E. Reid, and a mother about whom little is known, except that she was also a physician. Hazel and her sister, Edna, were raised in Newport News by their father and stepmother, Hazel Palleman Reid, in a loving and supportive environment that encouraged a solid education, independence, and compassion for others. Hazel's grandmother, founder of Newport News's only black public library, kept a box of clean and neatly packed clothes on her back porch for neighbors to take as needed.

O Leary s life lessons began in the Reid household and continued with her elementary and middle school teachers at the segregated public schools in Newport News where she was a star pupil Although the Reid sisters led sheltered childhoods their parents also encouraged their independence ...


O'Leary, Hazel Rollins  

Robert Fay

Born in Newport News, Virginia, Hazel O'Leary was raised by her father, Russell E. Reid, a physician, and by her stepmother. She earned a B.A. degree from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1959, and a J.D. degree from Rutgers University Law School in 1966.

From 1974 to 1980, O'Leary worked in the Federal Energy Administration (later part of the Department of Energy), reaching the position of chief of the Economic Regulatory Administration. She worked at her own energy consulting firm from 1980 to 1989. She was president of Northern States Power Company in 1993, when President Bill Clinton appointed her secretary of energy, a position she held until 1996.

In addition to her position as president of O Leary and Associates a consulting firm O Leary also serves as trustee on several boards including those of Morehouse College Africare the AES ...