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Richard "Dick" Celeste

In office
January 10, 1983 – January 14, 1991
Lieutenant Myrl Shoemaker (1983-1985)
Vacant (1985-1987)
Paul Leonard (1987-1991)
Preceded by Jim Rhodes
Succeeded by George Voinovich

In office
President Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Carolyn R. Payton
Succeeded by Loret Miller Ruppe

In office
January 11, 1975 – January 1979
Governor Jim Rhodes
Preceded by John W. Brown
Succeeded by George Voinovich

In office
November 10, 1998 – April 25, 2001
President Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Preceded by Frank G. Wisner
Succeeded by Robert Blackwill

Born November 11, 1937 (1937-11-11) (age 72)
Cleveland, Ohio
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Dagmar Braun Celeste
Jacqueline Lundquist
Children 7
Profession Teacher, public servant
Religion Methodist

Richard Frank "Dick" Celeste is a American politician from Ohio, and a member of the Democratic Party. He served as the 64th Governor of Ohio from 1983-1991.


Early life and career

In 1959, Celeste was graduated magna cum laude from Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut). He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Celeste then received a Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford University (Oxford, England). There he met Dagmar Ingrid Braun, whom he married in Austria in 1962. After returning to the United States, Celeste served as staff liaison office in the Peace Corps and as special assistant to Chester Bowles, then United States Ambassador to India.

Celeste was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1970, and was subsequently elected the 55th Lieutenant Governor in 1974 (defeating Republican John W. Brown, serving under the Republican James A. Rhodes—at the time, Ohio's lieutenant governor was elected separately from the governor, so the victors could be of different parties). In 1978, Celeste ran for governor, but lost to incumbent Rhodes. President Carter appointed Celeste Director of the Peace Corps from 1979 to 1981, where he was responsible for programs in 53 countries.

Governor of Ohio

In 1982, Celeste defeated Republican nominee Clarence J. "Bud" Brown Jr. and became governor of Ohio. Rhodes could not run in 1982 since Ohio law barred him from seeking a third consecutive term. In 1986, Rhodes returned to contest the governorship, but this time Celeste, now the incumbent, won. Celeste served as governor of Ohio from 1983 to 1991.

As governor, Celeste increased support for human services, mental health & addiction recovery services, funding for education and children services including providing onsite daycare for state employees. Before the Celeste area Ohio ranked near the bottom among states in funding for these programs. Celeste and the Democratic-controlled legislature increased the state income tax by approximately 40% while also retaining a temporary tax of 50% instituted by the republican predecessors. Celeste is noted for opening many government positions to African Americans and women -- he hired more women to cabinet positions than all previous governors combined. He also commuted Debra Brown's death-sentence to life imprisonment along with the sentences of most battered women serving sentences at Marysville state prison for killing their aggressors.

Under the Celestes, the Governor's art exhibits, chamber music concerts and First Lady's spiritual retreats and theology gatherings as well as Christmas and Hannukah parties for neighborhood kids became regular seasonal events. The Residence Gardens, especially the rose garden, one of the oldest in the nation, were reconstitued and The Friends of the Residence were formed, with Les Wexner as their first president, to help raise private funds to defray the cost of those improvements.

Later career

Celeste then established the consulting firm Celeste & Sabety Ltd. in Columbus. After he served as the director of the DNC's healthcare campaign in 1993, President Clinton appointed him as United States Ambassador to India, a position he served in from 1997 to 2001.

His brother, Theodore S. Celeste, successfully ran as a Democratic Party candidate for the Ohio House in 2006.

Celeste was inaugurated as the 12th President of Colorado College in 2002. Celeste is a member of the advisory board of the Roosevelt Institution, a student think tank. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Celeste, along with Thomas Kean who co-chaired the 9/11 Commission, co-chairs the Homeland Security Project for The Century Foundation. He also sits on the board of the Independent Strategic Assessment Group, United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM), which is the military command over the USA established in the wake of the attacks of September 11. Celeste joined board of Directors of Glimcher Realty Trust in September 2007.[1]

Celeste had six children (now grown) with his first wife, Dagmar. The couple divorced in 1995. Celeste is currently married to Jacqueline Lundquist. Celeste and Lundquist have one child, Samuel.


See also

Political offices
Preceded by
John W. Brown
Lieutenant Governor of Ohio
1975 – 1979
Succeeded by
George Voinovich
Preceded by
James A. Rhodes
Governor of Ohio
1983 – 1991
Succeeded by
George Voinovich
Government offices
Preceded by
Carolyn R. Payton
Director of the Peace Corps
1979 – 1981
Succeeded by
Loret Miller Ruppe
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Frank G. Wisner
United States Ambassador to India
1997 – 2001
Succeeded by
Robert D. Blackwill

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