Paul Bragdon, a legendary figure in Oregon higher education circles, died on August 7, 2021, at age 94.
Bragdon served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. With the help of the GI Bill®, he pursued his undergraduate degree at Amherst College. He went on to Yale Law School, earning his degree in 1953. Bragdon then moved to New York City to work for major Wall Street law firms. In the 1950s and 1960s, he was a leader in efforts to reform the city’s Democratic Party. He eventually went to work in city hall under Mayor Robert Wagner, at one point as press secretary. His last job in the state was as vice president of New York University, which he left in 1971 to lead Reed College. In his 17 years as Reed’s president, he was named one of the 100 most successful college presidents in the country.
Bragdon subsequently held leadership roles at other Oregon educational institutions. He served as president of the Oregon Graduate Institute from 1994 to 1998, engineering its integration into what is now Oregon Health & Science University. He also served as interim president of Lewis&Clark from 2003 to 2004.
Bragdon is survived by his wife, Nancy; their three children, David, Susan, and Peter; and five grandchildren.