February 3, 2017
Edward Bagale, who retired as vice chancellor for government relations at the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2012, died Jan. 18 in Holland, Michigan. He was 70 years old and had been suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Bagale began his decades of service to UM-Dearborn as director of admissions in 1969. He took a leave of absence to serve as district administrator for U.S. Rep. Sander Levin in the mid-1980s and returned to UM-Dearborn as associate vice chancellor for government relations. He was promoted to vice chancellor in 1995.
“Ed’s accomplishments on campus were numerous and remarkable,” according to UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little. “He was involved in so many projects and initiatives that have transformed our campus over the years, including securing state funding for the construction or renovation of numerous buildings and he spearheaded efforts to make campus housing a reality for our students.”
Off campus, Bagale served on numerous boards, including ACCESS, the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, Henry Ford Health System, the Rouge River Gateway Partnership and many others. “His extensive community relationships were instrumental to connecting the resources of UM-Dearborn with the needs of the broader community,” Little said. “And his advocacy brought many substantial benefits to the campus throughout his career.”
In 2010, Bagale received the Eleanor Josaitis Unsung Hero Award from the Detroit Free Press and the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition. The award, named for one of the founders of Focus: HOPE, was created to "recognize an individual who may not have yet received the widespread recognition she or he deserves for long-standing efforts to further regional cooperation and understanding.”
In particular, Bagale was honored for his work to build a broad coalition to support environmental stewardship among the communities in the Rouge River watershed, for decades one of the worst sources of water pollution in the Great Lakes. Among other gains, Bagale’s work led to the establishment of the Environmental Interpretive Center at UM-Dearborn, and of the Rouge River Gateway Trail, a pathway connecting Dearborn with miles of parks and trails in western Wayne County and beyond.
On his retirement, donors established the Edward J. Bagale Difference Makers Scholarship, which recognizes exceptional UM-Dearborn students for their academic achievement, integrity and leadership.
Bagale is survived by his wife, Gail, two brothers, a sister and several nieces and nephews.
— Submitted by the Bagale family