Celebrating Ray Warren

Ray Warren, a dual graduate of Lewis & Clark College (BS ’65, MAT ’71), a 1989 inductee into the Lewis & Clark College Sports Hall of Fame, and a beloved staff member, passed away December 19, 2004, after a 7-year bout with cancer.

Ray Warren began his work at Lewis & Clark in 1987 as an associate dean of admissions and was named associate dean of students and director of ethnic student services in 1992. He was instrumental in admissions recruiting and in supporting students of color at Lewis & Clark. He took the lead on organizing the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations held on campus, and his leadership was an essential part of the Diversity Cluster and the LINCS programs (a predecessor to Great Expectations). Ray was a strong supporter of the athletic program and our student athletes here as well.

Ray’s warm smile and friendly greetings put everyone at ease, and his wonderful laugh echoed through the halls of Templeton Student Center. A tireless advocate for diversity, he was sought out by students of all backgrounds, in large part because of his keen ability to listen carefully and his wise advice. Ray cared deeply for all students at the College, and he cared deeply about the mission and values of the College itself as he worked with his colleagues to effect the change—however incremental—needed to make the College the most welcoming, diverse community possible.

Ray approached everything in his life with enthusiasm and humor. He played racquetball with abandon until he became very ill (and defeated opponents many years his junior!), and he was passionate about playing golf. If you knew Ray, you knew he was “frugal,” and he and his buddies were always looking for good golf deals and complimentary rounds of play. His other passion was cooking, and he was good at it. Nothing made him happier than having a houseful of students over for dinner, which he would prepare himself, or having family and friends over for dinner or a party—all excuses to prepare his favorite dishes.

Ray was born in 1942 and grew up in the Pleasant Hill community near Linden, Texas, until his family moved to Portland when he was 14. Ray graduated from Jefferson High School in Portland and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Physical Education from Lewis & Clark College in 1965 and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Lewis & Clark in 1971. He served in the U.S. Army from 1965-1967 and had a tour of duty in Vietnam, and then he taught school at Vernon Elementary School in Portland for four years where he met his wife Sheryl.

Ray served as Associate Dean of Admissions at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, for seven years beginning in 1971, and after working in commercial banking for seven years, he rejoined higher education and worked with students at Reed College from 1984 to 1987. Then he returned to Lewis & Clark College for good. He was elected to the Lewis & Clark College Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 for his excellence as a baseball player during his college years, and in 2004 a new annual symposium, the Ray Warren Multicultural Symposium (now the Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies) was named in his honor.

Ray was 62 years old when he died peacefully and comfortably at home with his wife Sheryl, daughter Mindy, and other family members by his side on December 19, 2004. He had battled cancer for a number of years, and succumbed to cancer that had metastasized to his liver. Along with being a husband and a father, Ray was an important part of the large and well-known Warren family here in Portland. A wonderful service celebrating his life was held at the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church in Portland on December 27, 2004. A Memorial Celebration at Lewis & Clark College was held in Agnes Flanagan Chapel on January 30, 2005.