Bulldogs For Life

Alumni & Friends

Chris Kallimani 2014



More than 1,600 degree candidates greeted University of Redlands President Ralph Kuncl with hugs and handshakes as they walked on stage at the Greek Amphitheatre for the university’s 105th commencement weekend in late April. Some students high-fived and even took “selfies” with “Dr. K” as they affectionately call President Ralph Kuncl. The University of Redlands commencement weekend included ceremonies for the School of Education on Thursday, April 24 and for the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business on Saturday, April 26.
 
One of the highlights of the weekend was the story of 89-year-old Chris Kallimani. On Saturday morning, Kallimani graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration 65 years after enrolling at the University of Redlands. Kallimani initially attended the U of R as part of the V-12 program in 1944 and 1945 before departing to fulfill his Navy obligations on the island of Samar in the Philippines. He returned to Redlands for the 1947-48 academic year before leaving again –three units short– to take a job that led him into a successful career in accounting.
 
In the fall of 2013, Kallimani visited California from the Chicago area and couldn't pass the opportunity to come back to the U of R to visit the campus. "I wanted to stand in front of the Administration Building and see that view of the Chapel and the ‘R’ again," Kallimani said. Visiting with his two sons, John and Jim, his brother-in-law John Rushing – a U of R athletic Hall-of-Famer – and Rushing’s son Joel, Kallimani stopped by the Registrar's Office to check how many credits short he was from graduation.
 
"At the time, I didn't know that checking in with the Administrative Office to see where I stood as far as graduation is concerned would lead to finishing my degree," the World War II vet said. After chance encounters with administrators, Athletic Director Jeff Martinez and President Kuncl, plans were set in motion with the College of Arts and Sciences so Kallimani could fulfill his graduation requirements and walk at Commencement in April 2014.
 
"The hello spirit that I first encountered when I arrived at Redlands in 1944 has not died and it was alive that day. Everybody that I met, I have to say, took me to heart. How could I not want to come back and graduate after the treatment I got that day," he said.
 
A member of Kappa Sigma Sigma and the University of Redlands football team in the mid-1940s, Kallimani received a standing ovation as he walked across the university's Greek Theatre’s stage to receive his undergraduate degree.