Students get inside look at the financial crisis from former U.S. Treasury Secretary

A group of students majoring in finance and economics had a special opportunity this week when former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson came to campus for an informal talk with them.

In 2006, President George Bush appointed Paulson secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, during which time he drafted a bailout plan for the crumbling U.S. financial system. He served as Treasury Secretary from 2006-2009. 

“Paulson’s explanation of regulatory failures and efforts to correct them gave students an inside look at the recent financial crisis, and he set it in context by referring to many previous financial crises,” said Professor Jeffrey Sundberg.

During Paulson’s conversation with students, which included time for questions, he discussed why regulation was important and difficult to do well. He also discussed the critical importance of ethics.

“Having the opportunity to hear firsthand from Mr. Paulson, who served President Bush during one of the toughest economic times in history, was such an honor and kind of surreal. It was so interesting to hear him explain how he, and others, faced and dealt with the many stressful and incredibly challenging situations at the time,” said finance major Brittani Michela ‘13 .  “He also made me think hard about what type of financial institution I’d like to work for – it must be one where the people have integrity and morals.”

Prior to his role as Treasury Secretary, Paulson was Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. He also served as a member of the White House Domestic Council under Nixon.

Paulson is the author of the book On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System.