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
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
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