Remembering James Bugg, 94, UMSL’s first chancellor
One of the people responsible for shaping the University of Missouri–St. Louis in its earliest years passed away last week. James Luckin Bugg Jr., the university’s first chancellor, died at home on Thursday, Jan. 15, in Norfolk, Va., at the age of 94.
First appointed as dean of faculty in July of 1963, Bugg led UMSL – at the time a newly founded endeavor – through six crucial years of development.
A longtime professor of history and a World War II veteran, Chancellor Bugg’s charge was a unique and weighty one, and he proved to be up to the challenges. Bugg built the young institution’s academic offerings, adding depth and breadth, recruiting talented faculty and students, and working to clarify UMSL’s mission in the St. Louis region.
Shortly before moving on from UMSL in 1969, Chancellor Bugg wrote, “I honestly believe that the campus is already on its way to distinction, that its faculty had a very real and deep interest in superior teaching as well as scholarship, that its students are already receiving a superior undergraduate education, and the service function is one which is well understood and is being performed as well as our resources allow.
“If the campus can continue to receive adequate minimum nourishment in budget, I think it will rapidly become an institution in which the University, the metropolitan area, and the State can take pride. I hope I prove to be an adequate prophet.”*
Bugg’s son, Jim, said his father always spoke highly of his time at UMSL.
“He was very proud of the work he was able to accomplish,” Jim Bugg said. “He especially liked to talk about his passion for teaching, his students, the faculty and the entire community there.”
A native of Farmville, Va., Chancellor Bugg was the son of the late James Luckin Bugg Sr. and Hessie St. Clair Woodruff Bugg. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Hampden-Sydney College in 1941 and then a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1942 and 1950, respectively.
Chancellor Bugg served as chair of the Department of History at the University of Missouri from 1959 to 1962, just prior to his tenure at UMSL. In 1969, he became the second president of Old Dominion University.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Anne Hunter Bugg. Survivors include his daughter Anne Bugg Payne (George), his son James Luckin Bugg III (Ann), his sister Mary St. Clair Holland, and four grandchildren: Hunter Scott Payne, Jamie Elizabeth Payne, James Luckin Bugg IV and Ramsey Burnell Bugg.
For memorial service information and other details, see the obituary.
*Editor’s note: Chancellor Bugg wrote these words to Elmer Ellis, president of the University of Missouri at the time, in a letter excerpted in “The Emerging University: The University of Missouri–St. Louis, 1963-1983” by Blanche M. Touhill.
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