2013 Alum of the Year

Sue Pooler Wagner—Class of 1958

2013 Hall of Fame


Sue Pooler Wagner is widely regarded as the most influential woman in 20th century politics in Nevada.  She was elected to the Nevada State Assembly in 1974, to the Nevada Senate in 1980, and in 1990 was elected the first woman Lt. Governor of Nevada. She has had a stellar career as a public servant and legislator.

Sue is a supporter of woman’s rights, protections for children at risk, environmental protection, funding for public and higher education, and for public accountability and campaign finance reform.  Sue successfully introduced and passed more legislation than anyone else in Nevada’s political history.  She was urged to run for Congress, and for Governor. The National Women’s Political Caucus advanced her name to George H.W. Bush as a potential Vice Presidential nominee.

She earned a B.A. in education from the U of A and an M.A. in history at Northwestern in 1964. She married Peter Wagner in 1964 and had two children.  She taught in the Tucson public schools before moving to Nevada.  In 1980, her husband Peter was killed in an airplane crash.  In 1990, Sue also was critically injured in a plane crash, but survived and continued her public service despite a difficult recovery.  After leaving elective politics, Sue accepted a position in political science at the University of Nevada, Reno.  She has mentored young women interested in politics and directs a student legislative intern program.  In 1997 she was appointed to the Gaming Control Board and to the Board of Wells Fargo Bank and was recently inducted into the Nevada Senate Hall of Fame.