Bagley honored for extraordinary leadership
By Stewart MacInnis
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 26 - April 2, 1998
Virginia Tech has been so much a part of Richard M. Bagley's life and he gave so much time and effort to it that the university is returning the favor.
A lifetime of service to Virginia and to Virginia Tech will be acknowledged April 3 when the former state legislator is awarded a special citation by his alma mater.
"I am so honored and pleased by this," Bagley said. "Since I graduated in 1948, I've gone through every alumni office, all the offices on down the line to the Board of Visitors. Every moment was a great pleasure and joy to me."
The citation was approved by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors for Bagley's "extraordinary leadership and outstanding service to his alma mater and the entire citizenry of Virginia." Bagley, a Hampton native and president of Bagley Investment Company in that city, will receive the honor during Virginia Tech's Founders' Day activities tomorrow.
"Mr. Bagley's service to Virginia Tech has been second only to his service to Virginia," said Paul Torgersen, president of the university. "Year after year he has helped guide this institution toward its future."
Bagley has been an influential figure in Virginia politics beginning with his entry into the Virginia House of Delegates in 1965. Twenty years of service in the General Assembly was followed by service as the state's secretary of commerce and secretary of economic development.
"His devotion to Virginia Tech is evidenced by his many activities in its behalf," Torgersen said. "This is especially so because of the intense pressures on his time and energy because of his highly successful career in public service."
During his legislative career, Bagley chaired the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He is credited with helping create 51,000 new jobs in the state during his tenure as Virginia's first secretary of economic development during the late 1980s. He followed that with service as chairman of the Virginia World Trade Council, which was organized to develop the state's position in international trade.
Bagley accumulated numerous honors during his lifetime, but he remembers recognitions he received as an undergraduate with special fondness.
"I was very proud of the honors I received there at an early age while at Virginia Tech," he said.
Among those he mentioned were his affiliation with the VPI Honor Court, the Alpha Kappa Psi honorary business fraternity, and Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership fraternity.
His association with the university has continued over the years. He is a past president of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association Board, and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Tech Foundation. He served on the university's Board of Visitors, was a member of the Business Advisory Council, and was a member of the Corporation and Foundation Committee for the Campaign for Excellence.
"I enjoyed being on the Board of Visitors, and I was able to be re-appointed to the board as many times as I was allowed to be by state law," Bagley said. "It broke my heart when I couldn't be re-appointed."
His love of the university influenced his three children, all of whom are Virginia Tech graduates.