I am standing in this evening for Professor Richard Edwards of the University of Toledo Law School. He was planning to be here tonight to remember his time at Tillar House under the leadership of then-Executive Director Chris Merillat, but he took a fall the other day, and although not seriously injured was unable to travel. He sends his regrets and his greetings to many friends and colleagues here.
Rich served on the Tillar House staff when Chris Merillat took the reins as the Society's first Executive Director. Talking to Rich the other night about his memories of Chris made me think with some trepidation about the Tillar House staff here tonight and what tales they are going to tell of me fifty years from now.
Herbert Christian Lang Merillat, or "Chris" as his friends called him, was born on May 7, 1915, in Winfield, Iowa, and grew up in Monmouth, Iowa. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Arizona, was a Rhodes Scholar, and returned as a post-graduate law student at Yale in the late 1930s, where he was a student of Myres McDougal, who, Rich said later, described Chris as an extraordinarily brilliant person. During World War II, Chris was the official historian of the First Marine Division and wrote two books on the Guadalcanal campaign. After World War II, he served in U.S. foreign aid agencies and as a writer for Time magazine.
From 1955 to 1961, Chris worked as a program officer for the Ford Foundation in New York and in India. Vikram Raghavan told me tonight that Chris wrote a seminal work on the Indian constitution that is still cited today. Chris came to the Society from the Ford Foundation in 1961, as the Society's first Executive Director. He brought enviable ties to the Ford Foundation, and large grants for research and conferences soon followed. I have enjoyed digging through the files and reading about his tenure at Tillar House, and finding that some of our current initiatives, some of our' 'great...