Arthur S. Flemming

From Ohio History Central
Flemming, Arthur S..jpg
Portrait of Arthur S. Flemming.

Arthur S. Flemming was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was a 1927 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. After graduation, Flemming taught at Ohio Wesleyan before working as a reporter for the magazine that became U.S. News & World Report. He also obtained a law degree.

Throughout his adult life, Flemming was a member of the Republican Party. Nevertheless, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked him to be a member of the United States Civil Service Commission in spite of their political differences. His contributions to the Civil Service Commission led to the creation of the Arthur S. Flemming Award. The award is given annually to a public employee. He also served on the Hoover Commission and helped plan the reorganization of the federal government.

Flemming returned to Ohio Wesleyan University in 1948 as the institution's president. During the Korean War, Flemming left his position as president to serve as the director of the Office of Defense Mobilization for the United States government. After Eisenhower was elected president, Flemming became the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. In this position, he is credited with establishing the nation's first federal Office on Aging. Flemming later served as the head of the Atomic Energy Commission and as head of the Peace Corps.

In the 1970s, Flemming became known for his commitment to civil rights and served as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1974 to 1981. President Ronald Reagan removed him from the commission after he publicly criticized the administration's policies. Flemming said that the president was trying to roll back many of the civil rights advances that had taken place in the previous decade.

Flemming also served as president of the University of Oregon and Macalaster College in Minnesota. His final contribution to public service was as an advisor to President Bill Clinton on aging.

President Clinton awarded Flemming the Presidential Medal of Freedom of August 8, 1994, for his public service contributions.

Flemming died in 1996 at the age of ninety-one.

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