University of Redlands President James Appleton
Dr. James Appleton knew Warren Christopher as a man who expressed a love for the University and backed that up with his support.
“He said to me, ‘I got my law degree from Stanford. I appreciated the University of Southern California. But the two most important institutions for me are the University of Redlands and Stanford,’” he said.
When asked by Appleton to serve on the University’s Board of Trustees, Christopher had to say no because of his commitment serving on a Stanford board, but instead introduced him to the current chair Richard Fischer, then offered to help in any other way he could.
“When he was secretary of state, he hosted an alumni event on a floor of the State Department offices that was where they hosted international dignitaries. He said, ‘We don’t typically do this, but for Redlands, we’ll do this.’”
When the committee was formed for the University’s national Centennial Campaign, Christopher agreed to serve on it.
“I promised him one meeting a year, and he always came to it having read all of the material. He would be totally focused for about a half hour of the meeting, then fold up his materials and sit there politely. Kind of the message was that we had done all of the important work and a half-hour meeting was just plenty.”
At the kick-off for the public campaign, Christopher was the keynote speaker.
On Feb. 10, Christopher spoke with Appleton about financial aid and how outside funding sources could be integrated for University students, evidence, Appleton said, of his continued and consistent interest in and commitment to the University.
“He was just the most gracious, competent, caring human being,” Appleton said.
Executive Vice President Phillip Doolittle
Phil Doolittle said Christopher will be sorely missed.
“Chris was really supportive of the University over the years. One thing I always appreciated about him was that he always included in press releases and other publications about his life and background a reference to his having attended the University of Redlands. I think he deeply appreciated his experience here as a student.
“Chris was a talented and committed leader of tremendous integrity. Redlands has lost a distinguished alum, friend and supporter. The nation has lost a great leader and statesman.
Vice President and Dean of Student Life Charlotte Burgess
Char Burgess has a fond memory of Warren Christopher’s kick-off address to the University’s 75th anniversary.
“He spoke so warmly and proudly of the education he received here, acknowledging that it was short- lived because of the war and his being involved in the V- 12 program which culminated in his being assigned to attend USC to finish his education.
“He talked about the incredible UR faculty and called them out as having been formative in so many ways in his development educationally and personally. He talked about the terrific friends he made at Redlands, like American broadcaster Robert Pierpoint of CBS fame who later shared the Washington DC experience with him.
“Robert Pierpoint tells the story the night after the release of the Iranian hostages when “Chris,” as he called him, went into a DC restaurant and the entire room erupted in applause. Chris had to be told the applause was for him.
“More than anything, he was a self-effacing genuine soul who gave credit to so many for achievements that have been huge to so many more.”
University Chaplain John Walsh
Chaplain John Walsh was at Princeton University during the time of the Iran hostage crisis, and was instrumental in assembling a small group to travel to Iran to work as mediators helping those negotiating release of the hostages.
“I remember when we were planning our second (of three trips) to Iran. Ramsey Clark (former U.S. Attorney General) spoke warmly of his feelings for Christopher and told us that he was a highly principled and decent human being. Christopher had been assistant attorney general under Clark in the Lyndon B. Johnson administration.
“Christopher was helpful as we made plans for our efforts to help get the release of the hostages. It was through Ramsey Clark’s eyes that I saw him (Christopher) and what I saw was a truly dedicated American who wanted nothing more than to serve his country.”
Warren Christopher dies at 85 (L. A. Times)
Former Secretary of State, UR student dies (Redlands Daily Facts)
James Fallows, Redlands native and former University of Redlands trustee, writes about Warren Christopher in “The Atlantic.”
Read about Christopher's experience at Redlands.