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Al Broaddus '61 Honored by Richmond Public Schools

Last Friday, May 4, the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation hosted “The Pride of RPS: Living Legacies,” which celebrated distinguished alumni of the city’s public schools. One of the honorees at this inaugural event was a Washington and Lee alumnus: Al Broaddus, the former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

Before the Richmond native graduated from W&L in 1961 with a degree in political science, he attended Richmond’s Albert Hill Elementary School and Thomas Jefferson High School. In a profile in the event’s program, Al talks about his mother’s career as teacher in the Richmond schools. He also credits his performance in an elementary-school play, “Three Princes Come Riding,” with putting him at ease with public speaking, and mentions teachers who sparked his interest in math and history, which also came in handy with his future career.

After serving in the Army and earning an M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from Indiana University, Al joined the Federal Reserve Bank in 1970 as an economist. He became the senior vice president and director of research in 1985, and the president in 1993. He retired in 2004.

He also had a brief stint as a teacher. After graduating from W&L and before joining the Army, he subbed with the Richmond schools as a French teacher for three months. “It was definitely the hardest job I ever had,” he says in the profile.

Al was part of a stellar lineup of honorees: Bobby Bayliss, tennis coach at the University of Notre Dame; J. Plunky Branch, noted musician; B.J. Brown and Robert L. Payne Sr., co-founders of the Richmond Jazz Society; Jay Ipson, founder and executive director of the Virginia Holocaust Museum (who spoke at W&L on May 3, during Holocaust Remembrance Week); the Hon. Cynthia Newbille, a member of Richmond’s city council; Desiree Roots Centeio, actor and singer; and Gladys Wilder, an educator in the Richmond public schools.

The Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation, says its website, supports the school board and the schools in their efforts “to provide educational excellence to the children of Richmond, their families and the broader Richmond community.”