Virginia Morsey Wheeler Talley
2004 Distinguished Alumni
Virginia Morsey Wheeler Talley, AB '42, JD '42, a retired attorney now living in Alaska, , was the only female member in her law class. Despite the perception that the law was a male-dominated profession, she excelled at the School of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the Law Quarterly, valedictorian of her class, and elected to Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif.
After law school, she worked for the Legal Division of the Rural Electrification Administration, a New Deal agency. Talley traveled throughout the United States to help establish rural electric cooperatives, mediate disputes, and participate in negotiations for the purchase of electric facilities that were being divested from larger utilities. She then worked for the Legal Department of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) while it was in its formative years. Talley participated in negotiations, drafted loan documents, and listed the bank’s securities on the New York Stock Exchange.
After marrying Lt. Gen. Raymond A.Wheeler, who established the World Bank’s Engineering Department, she became a consultant to the bank. She and her husband then engaged in engineering and legal work for the World Bank and United Nations around the world. After Wheeler died, she married Brig. Gen. Benjamin Talley and retired to Alaska.
She is a member of the American Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar Association. Talley is active in numerous community organizations. Anchor Point Senior Citizens, Inc. dedicated its senior center to Talley and her husband, who died in 1998, in recognition of their contributions.