Our real work in life is just beginning...may the indomitable spirit of youth forever carry us on.
Charles Richards, President of the Class of 1935, in a message to his fellow graduates
The Dr. Charles E. Richards Leadership Fund provides service-learning opportunities and leadership training for students involved in the Center for Vocation, Faith & Service at Hastings College. The Kitty M. Perkins Foundation established the endowed fund in 2007 in memory of Dr. Charles E. Richards, a physician, medical missionary, and Hastings College graduate. Throughout his life, Dr. Richards exemplified the values of leadership and service Hastings College seeks to instill in its students.
The following biographical information is from the obituary of Dr. Charles Richards in the McCook Daily Gazette, January 16, 2004:
A native of David City, Neb., Dr. Richards was president of the student body at Hastings College. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1935, he earned his master of science degree in zoology at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill. and his medical degree from the University of Nebraska. He interned at Alameda County Hospital in Oakland, Calif. and was assistant resident there until he joined the Navy.
During World War II, Dr. Richards was attached as a physician and surgeon to
the Amphibious Corps, Pacific Fleet of the Marines. During his military career he served as Battalion surgeon, flight surgeon, and aviation medical examiner. When he returned from the war he enrolled in Harvard School of Medicine for additional training. After Harvard, he was an American Cancer Society Research Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. From 1949 to 1953, he was associate staff member of the Department of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic and a professional associate at the Division of Medical Sciences at the National Research Council.
In 1953, Dr. Richards was appointed head of the outpatient department at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. He returned to the University of Nebraska in 1955 as Director of the Dispensary and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the College of Medicine.
In 1958, Dr. Richards accepted a position as advisor on medical education to Thailand. He was recognized for his contributions to Thailand by being awarded an honorary degree from Chiang Mai University, which was presented to him by the King of Thailand. He adopted a son, ThongPim Richards, of Thailand.
Dr. Richards received Hastings College’s Outstanding Alumni Citation in 1961. In honoring him, the Alumni Association wrote, “Dr. Richards is, at this time, serving on his assignment as medical advisor to the Government of Thailand. In this capacity he is serving his country and his fellow man and is, by his daily work, helping to strengthen the image of the American citizen...Because his achievements and the services which he has performed in his chosen field, both at home and abroad, reflect honor upon Hastings College, the Alumni Association is pleased to award Dr. Charles E. Richards the Alumni Citation for 1961.”
In 1966, Dr. Richards founded and was the first Dean of the School of Associated Medical Sciences at the University of Illinois, the position from which he retired in 1973. He moved to Cambridge, Neb. to live with his sister and brother-in-law, Honor and Ome Shoemaker. He returned to college and received an endorsement from Doane in Crete, Neb. to teach elementary education. He taught in the Cambridge Public School System. In 1977, Dr. Richards returned to Thailand and worked for the Bangkok office of the World Bank assisting in English writing and translation. He later was an advisor to Middle Eastern governments and provided medical services. He died in 2004 at the age of 90.