“I was a floundering 19-year-old, not really sure where I was going,” says Ken Hall ’60 of his early days at the University of Redlands. Although he was active in student government, Alpha Gamma Nu, Bulldog athletics and KUOR, it was the mentorship of Dr. Bob Morlan in the Government Department that gave him direction, he says, paving the way for his success at Redlands and beyond. Under Morlan’s guidance, Ken was accepted to the Washington Semester program, a life-changing experience. “Bob remained a good friend after graduation. He was an instrumental figure in my life, and for many others as well.”
While working on a U.S. Senate campaign, Ken’s candidate was invited to speak at Occidental College, where Lynn was studying Political Science. That chance meeting led to a marriage of 51 years, and counting. Ken has held major state positions in both the legislative and executive branches in his career, most notably as assistant cabinet secretary to then Governor Ronald Reagan and as chief deputy director of the Department of Finance for the State of California. Redlands, he says, provided a foundation for his professional work, including the founding of School Services of California, the premier resource for educational agencies in the State.
In 2003 during the University’s Centennial Campaign, for which Ken served on the National Committee, the couple established the Ken and Lynn Hall Endowed Chair of Public Policy. They have been inspired by their chair holder, Greg Thorson, and liken his enthusiasm for teaching to that of Morlan, Ken’s mentor.
Last year, the Halls launched the Ken and Lynn Hall Network for Innovation in Public Policy, which aims to expand students’ range of understanding in public policy, regardless of their major. The network’s inaugural event, the American Futures conference held on campus in January 2016, was facilitated by Redlands Distinguished Fellow James Fallows and involved leaders from around the country. “Both the chair and network provide a foundation for students, as many will have public policy responsibilities in their lifetimes, even though they may not realize it today. Leadership positions require an understanding of the decision-making process, which we hope will transpire through the Hall Network."
“We are honored to give our time, talent and treasure,” says Ken, who also serves as a University Trustee. Lynn shares this sentiment: “Redlands has always welcomed me. They have always listened and treated me like an alumna.” Since Ken and Lynn both reaped the benefits of a liberal arts foundation, as did their two daughters, they are eager to provide practical public policy experiences for future generations. “We experienced the joy of attending a small private college, so we have a very important responsibility in terms of giving back,” says Ken.