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Samuel Skinner

Samuel Skinner

Chief of staff | White House, 1991-92 | Class of 1960

An admittedly "terrified" Samuel Skinner didn’t get much of a parental pep talk when his mom dropped him off before school started so he could take part in fraternity rush. 

"I´d never been to Champaign and as we pulled up, she said: ‘There is your dorm. Go and find your room and I will see you in November,´" he recalls. "Then she drove off.

“My mother was a widow and single parent and wanted to make sure that I learned how to take care of myself and become my own person.

"Fifty-five years later, I consider my college experience to be the biggest life-changing experience in my life.”

In the end, things turned out A-OK for Skinner, who'd go on to have job titles that included U.S. Secretary of Transportation and White House Chief of Staff (both under President George H.W. Bush) and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois (appointed by President Gerald Ford to succeed Gov. Jim Thompson).