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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 24, 2012

University of Nevada, Reno remembers Nevada Senator William J. Raggio

‘Champion’ of education and University alumnus ‘improved the lives of all Nevadans’ 

RENO, Nev. – The University of Nevada, Reno community is saddened by the death of Nevada Senator and University alumnus William “Bill” Raggio.

From Marc Johnson, University of Nevada, Reno president: “Sen. William Raggio lived a life of strong ideas and even greater ideals, which are etched everywhere on the state’s landscape, most notably in higher education. He championed this University and all of higher education in the state of Nevada with a seriousness of purpose and sense of great passion that marked so much of his extraordinary life. He leaves behind the richest of all legacies: At every turn, his life’s work improved the lives of all Nevadans. Our University will dearly miss Sen. Bill Raggio, who was a distinguished graduate of our institution, and a valued and trusted friend. On behalf of the entire University, Karen and I would like to express our deepest sympathies to Sen. Raggio’s loving wife, Dale, his daughters Leslie and Tracy, and all of the Raggio family.”

From Joe Crowley, University of Nevada, Reno president emeritus: “Bill Raggio’s contributions to Nevada made the state a better place in so many ways. He was a master of the legislative process whose commitment to building consensus, to finding solutions, to working across the aisle, to managing the end game in Carson City made him a legendary figure. Higher education was a major priority for Bill, statewide. His name is on a building on campus as a way of saying thanks, but that does not begin to tell the story of how much he meant to his alma mater and to all the campuses that make up the Nevada System of Higher Education.”

From Chris Cheney, dean, University of Nevada, Reno College of Education: “Bill Raggio has long been a champion for education. In the College of Education, we’re very grateful for his leadership and generosity. As a senator and true statesman, he was willing to work for the common good in order to move education forward and increase the quality and rigor of education for all Nevada students. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy lives on throughout the state, and certainly here in our College’s William J. Raggio Building, named in his honor.”

Sen. Raggio received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1948. Over his career, he received several honors recognizing his contributions to higher education and the University:

  • Distinguished Service Award, awarded by the University of Nevada, Reno Alumni Association in 1997,
  • Outstanding Alumnus, awarded by the University of Nevada, Reno in 1999,
  • Jake Lawlor Award, awarded by the University of Nevada Athletic Foundation in 1999,
  • President’s Medal, awarded by UNLV in 2000,
  • “Hero of Education” Award, awarded by the University of Nevada, Reno Faculty Senate and Nevada Faculty Alliance in 2011,
  • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, awarded by the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011.

A permanent display devoted to Sen. Raggio is located on the first floor of the University’s William J. Raggio Building. The 118,000-square-foot building is home to the College of Education. It opened for classes in fall 1997 and was renamed in recognition of Sen. Raggio’s significant contributions to education in 2003. Within the building is the Raggio Research Center which promotes research and programs to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

A tribute Web page is being created and is anticipated to be available on the University’s website,, at 2 p.m. today.

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Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno has an enrollment of 18,000 students and is ranked in the top tier of the nation’s best universities. Part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University has the system’s largest research program and is home to the state’s medical school. With outreach and education programs in all Nevada counties and with one of the nation’s largest study-abroad consortiums, the University extends across the state and around the world. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:
ane Tors
Director of Media Relations
Office: 775-784-1880 

Natalie Savidge
Media Relations Specialist
University Media Relations
Office: 775-784-4611 phone 

Media newsroom: 
University of Nevada, Reno/108
Reno, NV 89557
775-784-1422 fax

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