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Remembering Richard E. Erickson (1926–2018)

November 21, 2018

We regretfully announce that Richard E. “Dick” Erickson ’49, MBA ’50, a beloved member of the University of California, Berkeley community, passed away on October 15, 2018. Erickson was the embodiment of Cal spirit through his lifelong commitment to the university community. Erickson came to Berkeley in 1944 before joining the Navy, then returned in the fall of 1946. Proud to attend Cal, Erickson joked, “there were only two universities I would really be interested in: one was Cal and the other was Stanford. Obviously, I selected the better one.”1

During his undergraduate years, Erickson became a legendary quarterback for the Golden Bears, leading them to the Rose Bowl in 1949. Subsequently, he received an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. His interest and involvement in the UC Berkeley community did not end at graduation—he continued to serve the university for much of his professional life, first as the third Executive Director of the Cal Alumni Association from 1956–1973, then as UC Berkeley’s Assistant Chancellor for Development.

Celebration of Life for Richard Erickson
Sunday, December 9
2:00 p.m.
Alumni House, UC Berkeley

Current Executive Director of the Cal Alumni Association, Clothilde “Cloey” Hewlett ’76, J.D. ’79, says of Erickson: “The University of California, Berkeley and the Cal Alumni Association have lost a dear member of our family. Dick Erickson was instrumental in building both the pillars of our alumni association and a foundation for the university’s development and alumni relations department as the first Assistant Chancellor of Development. His spirit lives on through the Cal Alumni Association and the legacy of Pappy’s Boys. We owe a debt of gratitude to this man, who dedicated his entire life to supporting his beloved alma mater.”

Black and white image of Erickson and two other players kneeling with Pappy Waldorf
Cal Football Coach Lynn “Pappy” Waldorf kneels with players (from left) Jackie Jensen, Bob Celeri, and Erickson, 1948. SF Examiner photograph courtesy of Bart White.
Erickson once spoke fondly of his involvement at UC Berkeley, “it was both a privilege as well as a great thrill to represent Cal on the football field and later on to head up the Alumni Association in its relation to the wonderful Alumni that Berkeley has.”2 Staying connected to fellow California Golden Bear football alumni was important to Erickson, so he founded the alumni club known as “Pappy’s Boys,” uniting former Cal football players coached by Pappy Waldorf. As executive director of Pappy’s Boys, Erickson remained a loyal Cal football fan throughout his life, rooting for the Golden Bears every Saturday.

Erickson’s fellow Pappy’s Boys alumni remember his unwavering commitment. Says Stewart “Stu” McKee ’56, “Dick was a real gentleman, who among other things was the administrative glue that held Pappy’s Boys together for many years.”

Erickson left a lasting legacy for Frank Brunk ’51, who calls Erickson “a good man, a good friend.” Brunk remarks, “it has been my great fortune to have had him in my life. The Cal football alumni club of Pappy’s Boys, named in memory of our revered coach, Lynn ‘Pappy’ Waldorf, would not have come into being and to be such a generous Cal campus entity without him.”

“He always left things better than when he came,” says Hans L. “Lefty” Stern ’51. “First, as quarterback on Pappy Waldorf’s first Cal Rose Bowl team. He never let us forget that we would have defeated Northwestern except for a bad call by an official. Then, as executive director for the Cal Alumni Association, which flourished throughout his leadership. Next as UC Berkeley’s first development officer, what he started has become important not only to contribute to the finances of our campus but also to keep Cal in the lives of our alumni. His contribution to Pappy’s Boys as our executive secretary includes gifting of $16 million, mainly to support the Athletic program, but also to keep our more than 500 members close to the Bears but also to each other. He, and Jan, truly were the glue that kept the organization together and serve as a loyal friend not to Cal football but also to the Cal Athletics department and the university. He and Jan led a full life, raised a great family touched so many of us and will be missed by all.”

We join Stern in honoring Erickson: “All Hail!”

We will continue to cherish memories of Erickson as a loyal, spirited, and passionate member of the Cal community, as we remember his acts of service, leadership, and love for Cal football. Members of our Cal alumni community are invited to share recollections about Erickson by sending them to

Richard Erickson’s Celebration of Life will take place on Sunday, December 9, at 2:00 p.m. at Alumni House on the UC Berkeley campus.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Cal Alumni Association, Richard E. Erickson Alumni Scholarship, c/o Melina Armstead, 1 Alumni House, Berkeley, CA 94720-7520, or to The Cal Athletics Fund, Lynn “Pappy” Waldorf Endowment Fund Scholarship, 195 Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA 94720-4422.

1 2Richard Erickson. “Interview with Richard Erickson.” Interview by Dan Cheatham. February 19, 2007.