Leaving a Legacy

A home for ethics at Weber State University 

Richard Richards AS ’59 was committed to teaching and inspiring ethical leadership and integrity in students at Weber State University.

After a lengthy career in national politics and coordinating campaigns for former presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, Richards left Washington, D.C., to come home to Ogden. It was during this time he reconnected with his alma mater, serving as chair of the WSU Board of Trustees and working with history professors to capture his life’s experiences in his published autobiography, Climbing the Political Ladder, One Rung at a Time.

He said in the introduction, “I want to demonstrate, through my life’s own experiences, that young people with reasonable ability, a strong desire to do well, the patience to build from one strength to the next, and a willingness to work hard can become major players in the political organizations of the United States. It is not easy. It takes commitment and some sacrifice, but it can be done. … At a time when the future of democracy seems precarious, I feel strongly about lifting an affirming voice for its values.”
From there, Richards climbed one more rung, embarking on a new philanthropic venture that has provided a secure home for ethics at WSU.

Today, the Richard Richards Institute for Ethics partners with local businesses and individuals to fund nearly $20,000 in ethics scholarships every year, supporting high school seniors coming to WSU. Students are selected based on their essays about the value of ethics. The institute also provides annual lectures and workshops on ethics in all disciplines. Recently, the Richards Institute Advisory Board announced a partnership with local chambers of commerce to start an Ethical Leadership Award, which will recognize individuals in Utah for exemplary ethical behavior. The first recipient will be recognized this May.

For more details and to participate in Richards Institute events, visit weber.edu/richardsinstitute.

As a development officer who worked closely with Richards for more than eight years, I want to briefly pay my tribute and respects to a noble friend, passionate alumnus and proud American who passed away Jan. 30, 2015. Richards sincerely believed in preparing tomorrow’s leaders through moral discipline and ethics. His legacy will not be forgotten, and on behalf of WSU, thank you Dick for your inspiration, generosity and commitment.

Author: Nathan Clark, Development Director

Richard Richards in the news: 

The Standard Examiner- Richard Richards, friend to Reagan, dead at 82

The Salt Lake Tribune- Richard Richards, Republican Party icon, dies at age 82