Nevada’s Longest-Serving State Senator Honored at the NJC

The Senator William J. Raggio Endowment has been established by Mrs. William Raggio at The National Judicial College to honor Senator Raggio’s leadership in bringing the NJC from Colorado to Reno in 1964, and to highlight the significant part he played in securing financial support for the NJC during his long tenure in office.

William J Raggio

In 2010, Raggio’s contributions to the effective administration of justice were recognized when he received the Herbert Harley Award from the American Judicature Society. Among the reasons cited for this award was his sponsorship of Senate Resolution SJR2, which proposed to amend the constitution to provide for merit selection of Supreme Court judges.

Raggio began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney of Washoe County in 1952. He was district attorney from 1958 to 1970 and was named “Outstanding Prosecutor in the United States” in 1965. He was elected president of the National District Attorneys Association in 1967.

As a Republican member of the Nevada Senate, he represented Washoe County’s 3rd district from 1972 until his retirement in 2011, making him the longest-serving member in the history of the State Senate.

Raggio was born in Reno in 1926 and graduated from Reno High School in 1944. At age 17, he enlisted in the Navy and graduated from officer training school as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps at the end of World War II.

While serving in the Marine Corps, he attended Louisiana Tech University, the University of Oklahoma, and completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Nevada, Reno. He obtained his J.D. from the Hastings College of Law at the University of California and the Boalt Hall School of Law at University of California, Berkeley.

Senator Raggio passed away in 2012.

The Endowment will be coordinated through the NJC’s Advancement Department. Those who wish to honor Raggio’s legacy to the effective administration of justice can do so by contributing to the Senator William J. Raggio Endowment online at or by contacting the Advancement Department at

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