Leon Jaworski, and Speaker of the House Thomas
The citizens of Maryland soon realized that in
William Donald Schaefer they had found a man
who knew how to make government work for
people—a leader whose number one priority was
always people. Committed to fulfilling this
mandate, Governor Schaefer has brought a "hands
on, heads up" approach to state government. One
of his best known directives to staff is: "Do it now!"
William Donald Schaefer believes that
leadership is set by personal example and by daily
demonstration of the kind of commitment expected
from others. In December 1986, shortly before he
took office, Governor-Elect Schaefer learned of the
proposed closing of a major corporation in Western
Maryland. In an attempt to save jobs and to help
displaced workers and their families, he immediately
marshalled state forces and headed for Allegany
County. Together with his top advisors and the
Maryland Congressional delegation,
Governor-Elect Schaefer devised a plan of state and
federal action to meet the needs of the company and
its employees. As a result, the corporation decided
to keep their headquarters in Cumberland—saving
600 jobs. Governor Schaefer is now moving ahead
on a long-term strategy to attract new business to
Governor Schaefer, a life-long resident of
Maryland, was born in West Baltimore on
November 2, 1921, to William Henry and Tululu
Irene Schaefer. Educated in Baltimore's public
schools, he graduated from Baltimore City College
in 1939 and from the University of Baltimore Law
School in 1942.
His legal career put on hold by U. S. entry into
World War II, Mr. Schaefer joined the Army,
achieved officer rank, and took charge of
administering military hospitals both in England
and on the Continent. After his tour of duty, he
remained in the U. S. Army Reserves and retired in
1979 with the rank of Colonel.
After the war, Governor Schaefer resumed his
legal career, practicing real estate law. He went on
to earn a Master of Laws degree from the University
of Baltimore and later formed a general practice law
firm with two colleagues. It was during this time
that Mr. Schaefer entered the public arena. His keen
concern for city planning and housing in Baltimore
prompted him to take a leadership role in citizen
associations. His community involvement
propelled him to a seat on the Baltimore City
Council in 1955.
In 1967, rather than seek a fourth term as a
Councilman, Mr. Schaefer decided to venture into
citywide politics and run for Council President. His
bid was successful. Four years later, mustering both
business and neighborhood support, Mr. Schaefer
convincingly won promotion to the city's top job.
He was inaugurated as Baltimore's Mayor on
December 7, 1971, and served four consecutive
terms until he was elected Governor.
On January 21, 1987, William Donald Schaefer
was inaugurated as the chief executive of the state.
During his first two years in office, he has moved
decisively on four major fronts: education,
economic development, transportation, and
helping people in need.