The 13th Secretary of Transportation

As a part of its series in celebration of Black History Month, the Razorback Athletic Department is saluting Trailblazers from the African-American community who have attended the University of Arkansas. Several of the honorees in our series were also selected as Silas Hunt Legacy Award recipients recently.

The 13th Secretary of Transportation, the Honorable Rodney Slater, led the United States Department of Transportation under President Clinton and is currently a partner with Patton Boggs LLP, Attorneys at Law in Washington, D.C. In addition, Slater is the vice chairman and ssenior advisor at James Lee Witt Associates and is on the board of directors at Verizon.Slater transformed the Department of Transportation into a truly visionary and vigilant organization that redefined transportation as more than concrete, asphalt, and steel. Slater recognized that, at its core, transportation is about people and about assisting them in their pursuit of happiness as they lead safer, better, and more fulfilling lives. Slater brought to transportation a real commitment to “putting people first.”During his four years in office, Slater produced an impressive record of achievement, including major improvements in transportation safety, new investments in infrastructure, programs to protect the environment, and initiatives to expand opportunity. A true testament to his management talents, Slater managed a Cabinet department with 100,000 employees and a $60 billion annual budget.His appointment as Secretary followed four years of service as Federal Highway Administrator, during which he became the first African American administrator in the agency’s century-long history.Slater’s talents were not lost upon the residents of his home State of Arkansas. He held several positions in Arkansas, including Director of Governmental Relations at Arkansas State University, Executive Assistant for Economic and Community Programs for then-Governor Bill Clinton, the Governor’s Special Assistant for Community and Minority Affairs, and Assistant Attorney General-Litigation Division of the Arkansas State Attorney General’s Office.Slater earned his Juris Doctor from the UA School of Law in 1980.

The University of Arkansas’ Office of University Relations provided the content of today’s salute. For more information on the Silas Hunt Legacy Award Event, please jump here.