A. Clayton Spencer, Class of 1977

“Clayton Spencer’s contributions have helped countless students fulfill their dreams and have strengthened America.” So says Education Secretary Dick Riley. As chief education counsel to the Committee on Labor and Human Resources you were the lead staff member on all Senate legislation involving education. You oversaw passage of the Student Loan Reform Act of 1993, which brought real savings to students nationwide by establishing  the Direct Loan Program—the first major overhaul of the important federal student loan program in 20 years. You also directed passage of the Technology for Education Act of 1994, which has provided for schools across the country the electronic infrastructure needed to help prepare students for life and work in the 21st century. More recently, as lead minority counsel, you led the strategy that turned a proposed one-third decrease in federal education funding into bipartisan support for a 15 percent increase. No wonder a leading Education Department official, when hearing of my Williams identity, immediately stated, “Why you must know the incomparable Clayton.” You ac­complished this, according to observers, with a combination of ability, sound judgment, and a ready sense of humor that won the respect of both Republicans and Democrats. As Senator Ted Kennedy said upon learning of our gathering here this evening, “Williams is rightly proud of Clayton, and so is the United States Senate.”