Portrait of Field, Charles D.

Field, Charles D.

June 9, 1998

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The Honorable Judge Charles Field, the first UC Riverside Alumni Regent, the first UC Riverside Foundation Board of Trustees Chair, and a member of the pioneer class reviews the history of the campus.
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Field: And, Sproul himself played a major role in those meetings. He always came to each meeting. He got to know all the students, most of us by name, particularly if we were in Cal Club two or three years. So, he was somebody we all felt we knew and could talk to about things pertaining to the university.

Erickson: What did you talk about, Charlie? Things on a particular campus, or did you look at the overall university?

Field: Most of the agenda at Cal Club meetings pertained to matters affecting the whole university. There were a few individual campus items, but by and large they were universitywide issues. You probably never knew Sproul

Erickson: No, I didn't know him.

Field: "Sproul had a deep voice (Field was imitating Dr. Sproul's voice). He was a tall man, and whenever he came into the room, everybody knew he was there. Ho, ho."
He had an imposing personality.

Erickson: How about Watkins?

Field: Watkins was one of the most delightful humans ever. He was a sturdy little (pause) what? Welshman, wasn't he? He had been a distinguished professor at UCLA of Economics and had been chosen to come out and lead this campus as a liberal arts campus and had a good vision for doing it just that way.

I remember when I first got here there was a talk that he gave to all the students in the fall of '54. He gave a talk about the philosophy of a liberal arts college and what UCR was all about and hopefully what our experiences might be there. The message that he gave, and he gave it very clearly He had this delightful Welsh accent.

He was such an honorable person that he commanded great respect. He said, "You know, the purpose of a liberal arts education is to be the beginnin of your learnin. It is not to be the end." (Field imitated the voice and accent of Mr. Watkins). So, he said really that the four years of liberal arts college is an introduction to your life, an introduction to the kind of learning experience that you ought to make of your life. It's a fascinating and wonderful

There are a few people in the history of UCR who used to get standing ovations any time they would appear at any thing. Gordon Watkins was one of those. Every time he would turn up, everybody absolutely loved him, adored him. Phil Boyd was respected in that same way in his later life and treated in that same way. But Watkins was quite something.

Questions Regarding this Oral History Project should be directed to Jan Erickson at jan.erickson@ucr.edu.