Imagine the possibilities: The U of R journey of Charlotte ‘Char’ Burgess ’69, ’70


This summer, the University of Redlands celebrates Vice President and Dean of Student Life Charlotte “Char” Burgess ’69, ‘70 for her almost five decades of service to the institution. On July 1, Burgess assumes a new position in University Advancement as vice president of external affairs and dean emerita. See how her life has been intertwined with the U of R.


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

Charlotte Reid Gaylord is born in San Diego.


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

Achieves top cookie sales in Girl Scout Council of Greater Long Beach. “I went door-to-door with cookies in my wagon, and I loved selling!”


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

College Life
Graduates from Laguna Beach High School and enrolls at the University of Redlands. During her first six months, she was quite homesick and thought she might leave.


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70
Greek Life
Pledges Delta Kappa Psi
“I actually looked for a college that did not have Greeks because I remembered my mother hosting these big Alpha Phi garden parties and I thought they were terrible! Then at Redlands . . . I met juniors and seniors who were interesting, and knew I wouldn’t get to know them if I didn’t join, so I did.” (currently, a 48-year alumni member)


Works a summer job at Fallbrook Enterprise newspaper. “I filled in for people who went on vacation. I did every job there, even writing sports. When I was janitor, they couldn’t believe how clean I got that newsroom. I loved that job. I almost became a journalist.”


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

Graduates from the University of Redlands with a B.A. in psychology and begins working as assistant to the vice president for student life, writing speeches and planning events.


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

Earns her master’s in counseling and higher education administration from the University of Redlands.


Joins American Association of University Women (currently, a 45-year member)


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

Marries Larry Eugene Burgess ’67. They met while forming the University’s Young Alumni Board. “We never met while attending the University,” Larry says.


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

Raised $1 Million
Char was asked to join the board of the Family Service Association, now the oldest charity organization in Redlands. Larry says: “It was unusual to have someone from the outside, because she didn’t grow up in Redlands, and for someone so young.” Char raised $1 million for the organization to make a major move.


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

Purchases Fisk-Burgess House, a Redlands Heritage Grove Home listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hundreds of students have had picnics, holiday parties, brunches, and year-end events at “Char’s House”!

Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70


Serves as acting dean of admissions


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

Dean of Student Life
Promoted to dean of student life. “Students would not be able to figure out how I knew things. They thought I had little people, and they called it CIN [Char’s Intelligence Network]. I was in an office with three doors; people were in and out, and there was a huge workroom where everyone talked. They should have shut the door!”


Named U of R Town & Gown Woman of Distinction


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

Community Service Learning began in a closet. “That closet turned into an office and bloomed. [Community service] is part of the fabric of Redlands people; we just organized it and, most importantly, hired Tony Mueller to direct it.”


Receives U of R President’s Award for Outstanding Service


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

Named Outstanding Dean in the Western United States by her professional organization

Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

Children’s Literature Festival founded by and subsequently named for her aunt, Charlotte S. Huck, pictured with Char above.


Community Service
Receives U of R Frank J. Rice Memorial Award for Community Service. Interestingly, it was in Frank Rice’s home that Char and Larry met when Frank was president of the Alumni Association and wanted to start the Young Alumni Board.


Named Redlands Woman of the Year


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

Chairs University’s Centennial Celebration in addition to her job! “We had 48 events across the United States,” she says. “The Rose Parade float was an audacious thing to do. There is a picture of Redlands people at the parade, all wearing Redlands wool scarves, with expressions of huge anticipation waiting for our float; I love that picture, because it is Redlands—people with great enthusiasm waiting for the next great thing. That spirit—the best is yet to be—has kept Redlands going, as compared to schools where the attitude is they are the best and they just need to maintain it.”


Larry and Char Burgess establish an endowed University of Redlands scholarship for students who have moxie, courage, energy, daring, and vision.


Receives Pillar of the Profession award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators


Charlotte Burgess ’69, ’70

Vice President, External Affairs
Becomes vice president for external affairs and dean emerita; Char has reported to 18 supervisors while at the University, including four presidents.

If you would like to contribute to the Imagination Fund in Char Burgess’s honor and help students follow their passions at the U of R, visit or call 909-748-8068.


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