Hazel R. O'Leary

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Hazel Reid O'Leary (born May 17, 1937) was the seventh United States Secretary of Energy, from 1993 to 1997, appointed by President Bill Clinton. As of 2009, she is the first and only woman and first and only African American to hold the position. Since 2004 she has served as president of Fisk University, an historically black college (HBCU).


Early life and education

Born Hazel Reid in Newport News, Virginia, she is the daughter of doctors Russell E. and Hazel Palleman Reid.[1] She has a sister Edna Reid. Her parents divorced and each remarried. Her stepmother is Mattie R. Reid[1] and her stepfather is Mr. Morse. She and Edna have half-siblings Marina, Louis and William Morse.

After earning a bachelor's degree at Fisk University in Nashville, O'Leary earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Rutgers School of Law—Newark.

Marriage and family

Reid married Carl G. Rollins, Jr., with whom she had a son also named Carl.[1] They later divorced.

Reid married John F. O'Leary on April 24, 1980. He was the former Deputy Secretary of Energy. He died in 1987.


O'Leary worked as a prosecutor in New Jersey and was later a partner in the consulting/accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. During the Carter Administration, O'Leary was appointed assistant administrator of the Federal Energy Administration, general counsel of the Community Services Administration, and administrator of the Economic Regulatory Administration at the newly created Department of Energy.

In 1981, O'Leary and her husband established the consulting firm of [O'Leary & Associates, where she served as vice president and general counsel. From 1989 to 1993, she worked as an executive vice president of the Northern States Power Company.

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