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Clinton cabinet level official becomes UT Austin professor

U.S. Social Security Commissioner Kenneth Apfel will join the faculty of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin in January 2001. He will hold the Sid Richardson Chair in Public Affairs.

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AUSTIN, Texas —U.S. Social Security Commissioner Kenneth Apfel will join the faculty of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin in January 2001. He will hold the Sid Richardson Chair in Public Affairs.

A 1978 graduate of the LBJ School, Apfel oversees one of the world’s largest organizations: the Social Security Administration has 65,000 employees and an annual budget of over $400 billion, and delivers benefits to more than 50 million people every month. Apfel’s term as commissioner ends in January.

LBJ School Dean Ed Dorn commented that Apfel’s extensive leadership experience in the forefront of federal policy development will be an important addition to the LBJ faculty.

“Ken Apfel exemplifies the qualities we look for in our endowed chairholders: intellect, integrity and real world policy experience,” said Dorn.

Since becoming commissioner in 1997, Apfel has concentrated on the long-term financial health of the Social Security program, which will be strained by the retirement of the “baby boom” generation in the next decade.

Apfel has spent more than two decades in Washington. He worked for more than a decade on Capitol Hill, serving for several years as legislative director to former Sen. Bill Bradley. He was Bradley’s key staffer during groundbreaking 1983 Social Security reform.

During the Clinton administration, Apfel served as assistant secretary for management and budget at the Department of Health and Human Services and as associate director of the Office of Management and Budget before the Senate confirmed him as Social Security commissioner.

Apfel, who last year was the first recipient of the distinguished alumnus award of the UT Austin Graduate School, has maintained a strong connection with the University. “This is a terrific opportunity for my family and me,” said Apfel. “The LBJ School changed my life. Now, I have a chance to inspire another generation of public servants, just as LBJ School professors inspired me.”