17 Apr 2022


The History of the University of Redlands

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Academic level: Master’s

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The University of Redlands is one of the Christian-based Universities in the US and is currently viewed as a Baptist-founded college since it mainly involves non-denominational practices and activities ( Burges, 2006). Furthermore, it is worth noting that this University is based in California ( Burges, 2006). The University originated from the activities and practices of the Baptist Church in the United States of America ( Burges, 2006). Historically, the University of Redlands was founded and first proposed to be built in the US in early 1883 as a California college, exclusively in Oakland. Among the distinguished founders of this University is Charles Button, a preacher in one of the Baptist churches in California in the late 1880s. He also managed to convince the “Association of Southern California Baptist churches” leaders and management to raise funds for what became “Los Angeles University” in early 1886. Moreover, when the University of Redlands was first formed, it was under the leadership of the Southern California Baptist church and majority of the students who first joined the school were mainly Christians who believed in the promotion of moral and social values in the society ( Burges, 2006).

Redlands has continuously inspired dreams among its members. A good example is traced back to the Reverend Jasper Newton Field, the institution’s founder. Following his arrival in the year 1906, he acknowledged Redlands’ serene location and thriving society as the best site for the establishment of a university that would challenge others in the country. The “American Baptist Convention” was trying to find to establish a new institution of higher education in the “Golden State”. This was as a result of the San Francisco earthquake that brought havoc and made them loose the Bay Area location. It is this incident that made them to change their focus towards Southern California. Field was in the forefront in challenging the “First Baptist Church of Redlands’” parishioners and the “Redlands Board of Trade” to come together and work as a team so that the “American Baptists” could be brought to Redlands ( Burges, 2006). Enthused by Field’s determined activism and a profound sense of self-importance, the ingenious Redlands alliance swiftly secured the desired land and finance required for the actualization of its brand-new dream. It was in the year 1907, in the month of November that the “University of Redlands” formally commissioned. The admission of the institutions first learners took place in the year 1909. A lot of things have changed since its inception. However, the generosity, autonomous spirit and activism of the founding members continues to offer guidance to the current generation ( Burges, 2006).

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There are a number of activities and historical events that have occurred at the University of Redlands since it was founded in the early 1900s ( Nelson, 1958). To begin with, the University was officially begun in early 1907 and it was decided that Redlands’ San Bernardino County was the best and most effective location to place the University’s structure. In late 1909, the University’s foundation was laid for the magnificent “Administration Building” located at “Inspiration Hill”. 

In early 1910, the top management and leadership of the University managed to open the institution’s doors by occupying the newly completed “Administration Building” ( Burges, 2006). As a matter of fact, the “Bekins Hall” and the “President's Mansion” were the only two other buildings completed during this time. Subsequently, the “President Field” was the center of management of numerous undertakings at the University. The University’s first classes began later. In addition, the initial classes were began during this period and consisted of nine members, approximately ten courses and about fifty nine students ( Burges, 2006).

The University of Redlands students began promoting associated and students’ welfare activities in late 1913. It was during this year (1913) that a collection of students cleared more than 10,000 square of land that overlooked the university in order to create the iconic “Redlands” (R), a continuous source of civic, student and faculty pride. By 1920s, an era marked by expansion and optimism, Redlands inaugurated several of its most durable innovations. These included the new housing halls and Quad: Fairmont Hall, Melrose Hall, California Hall and Grossmont Hall. These, together with other additional developments, were largely financed using the donations given by well-wishers ( Burges, 2006).

However, in late 1921, the University’s students’ alumni group was formed and this led to proper cooperation among the various stakeholders ( Burges, 2006). Of essence was the creation of the “Och Tamale” mantra, which brought together the diverse generations of alumni and students. Other notable activities occurred at the University included the building and opening of the “Memorial Chapel” in the year 1928. This chapel was located at the Quad’s northern end hence becoming the university’s new central point ( Burges, 2006) . In early 1948, Redlands’ football side managed to reach a global standard and were invited to play the “University of Hawaii” in “Pineapple Bowl” held at the New Year’s Day ( Nelson, 1958) . By the end of 1950s, the students’ population at the University was increasing and more buildings were erected. This involved the building of new residential halls and educational buildings to serve the students from different socio-economic backgrounds in the society ( Nelson, 1958). The University, in the year 1959, unveiled the “Salzburg Semester”. This is a culturally inspirational program that presents students with the chance to get their education overseas, particulalry in Austria ( Burges, 2006).

The “Johnston Center for Integrative Studies” was built in the year1960 and this led to the creation and the development of a substitute learning atmosphere for students to explore their own educational development and other activities in the school ( Burges, 2006). The progress of the university was gradual but steady. In the year 1976, there was the creation of the “Alfred North Whitehead College of Liberal and Career Studies”. The primary role of this institution was to cater for the elderly and non-traditional students. These classes were conducted in Redlands and sometimes at other locations away from the campus ( Burges, 2006).

Other notable developments associated with the university include the “Thompson Aquatic Center” established in the year 1996. It is a topnotch home for the university’s diving, water polo and swimming teams. Ten years later (2006), the university opened the “Stauffer Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Studies”. This was followed with the creation of “Center for the Arts” on a 42,000 square-foot land. Its huge space is used for artistic things, theatre programs, as well as storing of historical information about art ( Ferguson, 2013). These developments clearly depict that the University of Redlands was gradually built into one of the best learning institutions ( Burges, 2006).

From the account and customs the University of Redlands, it is apparent that the university puts a lot of emphasis on matters regarding history and seem to hold on it up to now. The university is known for its community service legacy and the “Och Tamale” mantra. These are part of its diverse time-honored customs deep-rooted with a commitment which keeps growing from one generation to another. The university has a place where one would come across a bulldog wearing a cape. This is an ordinary occasion in the university. Another unique aspect of the university is the systematic ambushing of a particular rock by a group of students. However, another group defends the rock with so much vigor. Subsequently, one can wake up to “dayump dayadee yahoo” sounds outside his/her window ( Burges, 2006). It is such traditions that give the University of Redlands a distinctive aspect. Also, the traditions act as a unifying aspect for the students.

The university’s Alma Mater was composed in the year 1914 to follow "The Little Old Red Shawl My Mother Wore," an American conventional tune put together by Charles Moreland and "He Never Wanders Far from His Own Fire", a musical-theatre melody. The singing is done during formal events, convocations, and inaugurations. It goes like these: 

O, that dear old U of R,

Thy children near and far

Will sing to thee and all thy glories tell;

Where the orange blossoms grow

And the waters gently flow,

That dear old U of R we love so well

O, that dear old U of R,

Whose emblem shines afar,

Eternal as the hills we love so well;

Where the mountains tall and grand

Like an inspiration stand

That dear old U of R we love so well.

O, that dear old U of R,

The years can never mar

The memories of thee we love so well;

Where the friendships are so dear

That we leave them with a tear,

That dear old U of R we love so well” ( Ferguson, 2013).

The “Och Tamale” was initially known as the “Psalm of Collegiate Thanksgiving”. The cheer was composed by C. Merle Waterman (20), a cheerleader, with the help of other classmates such as Jack Slutsk (22) and Walter J. Richards (21).The recitation of “The Och Tamale” only happens when a touchdown is made by the Bulldogs, at a homecoming ceremony, while greeting alums and at pep gatherings. The Och Tamale goes like this: 

Och Tamale gazolly gazump

Dayump dayatty yahoo

Ink damink dayatty gazink

Dayump, deray, yahoo

Wing wang tricky trackey poo foo

Joozy woozy skizzle wazzle

Wang tang orky porky dominorky

Redlands! – Rah, Rah, Redlands!” ( Burges, 2006).

The University’s much-loved bulldog is more than just a symbol as it is the living example of the tenacity, loyalty and strength that drive the institution’s achievements. Right from the year 1918, the university has referred to the honorable animals as their official and some instances unofficial canine emissaries, representing the university’s self-importance to the entire universe. The present-day approved amulet, Thurber, is the university’s face. It is believed that it spreads the spirit of Redlands at functions and sporting occasions. Rather surprisingly, the bulldog’s nametag originated not with a dog, instead with a soccer game. It was in the year 1917 that Redlands played against a rival and the match’s score was 20-0. It is this outcome that made the other team’s coach say, “The U of R football team might well be called the bulldogs of the conference for the fight they put into the game” ( Burges, 2006). This was the beginning of the nickname that marked a new tradition of the institution.

When the University of Redlands was formed, there were only nine pioneer members and the “Redlands Baptist Church” was where they conducted their first class (Bu rges, 2006). In addition, there were only thirty nine students during the opening of the institution. Due to this, a good number of the training and learning materials had to be borrowed from the “Redlands High School” as well as the “Smiley Library” The institution further utilized the “Redlands High School” research laboratories and other scholastic materials in promoting their scientific trials. By the end of the year 1914, the university was in a position to purchase their books and science apparatus. However, in the course of this year, there was some anxiety among the students and teachers brought about by the lack of teamwork ( Burges, 2006). It is this incident that led to the formulation of rules and regulations. An example of the formulated policy was that which restricted the students from going to dances and card festivities without having a written consent from their parents ( Burges, 2006).

There are various challenges that were associated with the management change in the University. This greatly affected the vision and strategy of building a great university ( Burges, 2006). This is partly due to the high levels of deficit in which the University was operating despite the “Southern California Baptist” community efforts to improve the activities and operations of the University. Other major factors that also negatively influenced the University of Redlands operations and activities in early 1900s include the high levels of civil wars in the US in late 1910s. This affected the graduation activities as well as the attendance and admission of new students at University of Redlands. However, in order to control and reduce such challenges the University of Redlands top management managed to recruit more than one hundred and thirty men and women to join the “Students’ Army Training Corps” program and to provide security for the students during the war times. It is also true that the training of the young men was part of the federal government military training program and this led to good collaboration between the University of Redlands and the US administration ( Burges, 2006). Notably, in late 1925, the top management at the University began to hire new personnel in order to enhance the students’ matriculation rates. This led to the recruitment of about four hundred students by the end of the year 1926 ( Burges, 2006).

As things were changing, the University began to experience steady operations and more buildings were erected in order to cater for the desires, ideals and welfare of the new students. This includes the creation of new dormitories, classrooms as well as new library and the creation of a memorial chapel and gymnasium. It is also true that the management also built and created a school of education with the aim of improving educational programs at the University of Redlands. The University of Redlands to management also created the alumni to improve services as well as in order to support the university operations and activities. There are a number of studies and reports that indicate that the alumni provided the University of Redlands with a number of gifts especially in late 1916 including the association support in building the Greek theater. In late 1928, the University of Redlands was among the top ten lavish and established colleges in the United States of America and this is a clear indication that the University underwent a lot of improvements despite the many challenges it face. Moreover, the University, at present, has a total undergraduate admission of approximately three thousand students and offers a number of courses and curriculums. In most cases, the University of Redlands offers economical school charges since it is based on Christian values that involves supporting the poor in the society. Other major programs in the University include athletics, outdoor as well as fictitious sports ( Burges, 2006).

Despite the many challenges and problems that faced the University during its inception in early 1920s, the University’s main goals and values were based on orthodoxy in religious leadership and such practices were common among various faculties and students operations in the campus. The University of Redlands mainly involves the application and use of hi storic Baptist principles and values and this is why majority of the donations and support towards the building of various platforms and innovative structures at the University were mainly from the Baptist church organizations ( Burges, 2006). In addition, it is worth noting that the University of Redlands adhered to Christian values and principles and include high standard of scholarship that involves the molding of the students to accept and use Christian values in their career and personal life activities. The University of Redlands also emphasizes on the promotion of the students’ divine growth ( Burges, 2006).

Therefore, the “University of Redlands” is a private, self-governing arts institution dedicated to offering a personalized teaching that liberates students and allows them to make free-thinking decisions and choices. Redlands give emphasis to academic precision, curricular variety and inventive teaching. Redlands nurtures a community of intellectuals and inspires a multicultural idea of beliefs by challenging stereotypes and traditions in both activities and classes (Ferguson, 2013). Therefore, education in this institution is beyond teaching as it embraces a philosophical understanding of the universe. It progresses from data to comprehension and from facts to implication. Welcoming knowledgeably inquisitive students of varied national, socioeconomic, religious and ethnic backgrounds, the institution intends to develop accountable and socially responsible citizens as part of a comprehensive education system. Redlands inspires a community environment with outstanding chance for student interaction and leadership and. For employed grownups, the University offers inventive theoretical programs at suitable times and locations (Ferguson, 2013). Redlands balances between specialized programs and liberal arts, theoretical and applied study, self-designed conventions and traditional majors for graduation ( Burges, 2006). The use of small classes gives every student the opportunity to take part in discussions, get extensive personal attention and also have a close working relationship with the professors. The institution keeps trend with contemporary issues and challenges that might affects its students.

In conclusion, the University of Redlands was founded in late 1907 and it is currently a private institution dealing with a number of liberal arts and other curricula. The story of the University of Redlands indicates different modifications, growth and ingenious activities in the society ( Burges, 2006). The institution’s decision-making body mainly focuses on the promotion of the educational needs of their students. Therefore, education and training activities had to undergo a number of changes and it presently includes the use of contemporary tools and expertise ( Burges, 2006). Historically, this University was mainly based on “Baptist Church” procedures and undertakings and all the students were expected to take spiritual services and practices in the University. Also, the University has experienced a number of challenges and problems including lack of funds due to the Great depression that faced many organizations in the United States in late 1920s. Moreover, the University also experienced a number of challenges related to civil wars and lack of good leadership during its inception ( Burges, 2006). However, as depicted, the University of Redlands enjoy elevated levels of multiplicity and proper teaching curricula exclusively due to its operational and proper present-day management. It is also evident that the university is associated with a number of environmental-friendly practices given that it is near a mountain and a valley ( Burges, 2006). Apart from that, the University offers a number of programs and courses including business, education as well as a number liberal art courses. The University’s top management has been shaped by Christian values and experiences and spiritual values are part of the principles valued in the University. As a matter of fact, it is worth noting that the University of Redlands is among the oldest colleges in the United States of America ( Burges, 2006).


Burges, Larry E. (2006). With Unbounded Confidence: A History of the University of Redlands . Redlands: University of Redlands

Ferguson, T. W. (2013). No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion , 52 (3), 654-655.

Nelson, L. (1958). Redlands: biography of a college: The first fifty years of the University of Redlands . Redlands: University of Redlands

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