Dr. Michael W. Redding
Those who knew Dr. Michael W. Redding were well aware of his belief that higher education was a social justice issue and that for nearly 20 years, he made it his mission to let the world know of its importance to society as a whole.
Redding served as Vice Chancellor for Public and Government Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he led a team that worked to promote the mission of UIC through strong relationships with outside entities.
Redding, who began his career in higher education at the University of Oregon in 2000, died on Oct. 19 after a valiant fight with cancer. He was 52.
“Under his leadership, UIC established strong relationships with outside constituencies and elected officials, building on the many ways in which our mission contributes to society. He had a distinguished record of achievement in public higher education and service,” said UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis.
“Michael’s life’s work focused on issues that comprise the highest ideals of the UIC community, contributing to organizations that ranged from Special Olympics to the Affordable Housing Coalition.”
Field Museum President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Lariviere met Redding in 2009 when Lariviere became president of the University of Oregon and where Redding was working.
Redding served in senior public affairs leadership roles for more than 20 years. Prior to his arrival at UIC in 2013, he served as a member of the president’s senior leadership team as well as Vice President of University Relations, Chief of Staff to the Office of the President, Vice President of University Advancement and Associate Vice President of Public and Government Affairs at the University of Oregon. Lariviere recalled that within minutes of meeting Redding he became well aware of Redding’s love for higher education and knew he would be an inspirational colleague.
“Michael dedicated his professional life to public higher education. He understood its transformative power,” said Lariviere. “After his family, I don’t think there was anything that animated him more than making it possible for a student to get a better education.”
Lariviere said Redding was devoted to his wife Lori, who is also a member of the UIC family serving as faculty in the College of Education, and his two sons Cameron, 17, and Lucas, 15. He loved spending his weekends with his family, often attending his sons’ school, sports and cultural activities. The family resides in Lake Forest.
“Lori and the boys were the most important things in his life. He shaped everything he did around them,” said Lariviere. “Watching the love for them manifest itself was a wonderful sight.”
Redding earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and received his Masters and Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His doctorate was awarded with distinction and Redding’s dissertation was nominated for the Phi Delta Kappa, Tau Chapter Award for the best dissertation prepared at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.
Redding had also previously served as legislative director in the Office of Intergovernmental Relations for Oregon’s second largest city as well as U.S. public and government affairs representative for Texaco in Delaware. He held numerous volunteer leadership positions in professional and civic organizations, including service on the board of Oregon Special Olympics, Lane County Economic Committee and the Oregon Affordable Housing Coalition.
“He was a remarkable, generous, smart, and honest man. I am lucky to have known him as a friend,” said Lariviere. “Working in public higher education was his way of working for social justice, for creating pathways to equality in American society.”
A memorial visitation will be held Monday, Oct. 23, 5 to 8 p.m. at Wenban Funeral Home, 320 Vine Ave., Lake Forest, Illinois.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cameron and Lucas Redding Education Fund (c/o Office of the Chancellor, University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S. Morgan St., 2833 University Hall, MC 102, Chicago, IL, 60607).