In Memoriam: Robert Warren
October 07, 2016
Robert Warren, respected scholar, remembered by friends and colleagues
Robert Warren, an internationally respected scholar and outstanding graduate educator who was professor emeritus in the University of Delaware’s School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA), passed away on Oct. 3.
Prior to his June 2013 retirement from the University, Dr. Warren enjoyed a long and distinguished career. He joined SPPA’s faculty in 1975 after teaching at the University of Washington (1960-71) and the University of Southern California (1971-75), and he was a visiting professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, New York University and the University of Glasgow.
Dr. Warren's research dealt with the organization of democratic and efficient governmental arrangements in metropolitan areas. Over time, he was involved in projects related to urban coastal zone management, the role and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations in communities and transportation planning – especially in the Northeast Corridor.
Much of his later research focused on the interrelationships of information and communications technologies and the forces of globalization with urban governance, democratic practice and the rights of citizens. This included work on control technologies, such as video surveillance, and on citizen use of social media to increase their influence in socio-cultural and policy making processes.
Dr. Warren directed more than 90 Ph.D. dissertations and was an exceptional adviser to doctoral students across the world. He taught courses in planning theory and urban policy, contemporary issues in urban affairs, and public policy and governance, planning and management.
Dr. Warren published two books, Coastal Resource Use (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1975), jointly authored with Robert Bish, Louis F. Weschler, James A. Crutchfield, and Peter Harrison, and Government in Metropolitan Regions: A Reconsideration of Fragmented Political Organization (Davis, California: Institute of Governmental Affairs, University of California, 1966; 2nd ed. 1970). He authored dozens of scholarly articles in academic journals, is frequently cited by other scholars and was internationally renowned as a leader in the field of urban affairs and public policy.
The SPPA community celebrates Robert Warren’s life and his legacy in the urban affairs field and will miss his presence as well as his sage advice and counsel.
His family has scheduled a memorial service for Sunday, Oct. 9, at Spicer-Mulliken Funeral Home, located at 121 West Park Place in Newark, Delaware. Visitation will take place from noon-1 p.m. with a time of sharing from 1-2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations honoring Dr. Warren to the Acoustic Neuroma Association (600 Peachtree Parkway, Ste 108, Cumming, GA 30041), the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund (195 Montague St., 14th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201), or the Second Chance Animal Rescue (P.O. Box 570701, Whitestone, NY 11357).
Thoughts from those who knew Dr. Warren
• “It is with deep sadness that we learned about the death of Dr. Robert Warren. We had been informed that he was not well but death always shocks the human mind and heart. We knew Bob as our professor, mentor, source of encouragement and as a friend. Upon our return to South Africa, we invited him to South Africa to engage with the people of this country on how to create a democracy and have operational citizenship. His ideas were included in the bilateral talks and the multiparty negotiations that culminated in South Africans adopting the first democratic constitution in its history. His contributions to our intellectual and academic development will always be remembered. To Stacy, Colin and the school, Bob was a scholar, humanitarian and a person of high integrity. We remain indebted to his wisdom and to that of the late Irene. Thank you, Bob, for having opened up your home to us during the most trying times of our existence when we were stateless. You lived to see some of your efforts come through like democratic South Africa. Go well and you have completed your task in life.” – Sibusiso and Renosi Vil-Nkomo, SPPA alumni and researchers for the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) and University of Pretoria.
• “The entire urban studies academic community feels the loss of this intellectual leader who was consistently described as such a ‘good person.’ Bob's humility belied the fact that for a half century he helped to define the study of urban governance across the globe. His example of principled research and dedication to students, serves as a challenging standard for us all.” – Margaret Wilder, executive director of the Urban Affairs Association.
• “Bob's death is a great loss for the UD community and for the rest many students and colleagues who have benefitted from his wisdom and support.” – David Ames, professor emeritus, School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware.
• “Bob's death is a great loss for the UD community and for the many students and colleagues who have benefited from his wisdom and support.” – Daniel Rich, University Professor of Public Policy and former provost, School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware.
• “We have lost a very good person and an excellent teacher. He will be missed.” – Ed O’Donnell, policy scientist, Institute for Public Administration.
• “Very sad news. We are all diminished.” – Danilo Yanich, associate professor, School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware.
• “He was greatly interested in the success of his students and they had great respect for him.” – Mary Martin, associate vice provost for graduate and professional education.
• “He made a huge contribution to IPA and led many of our projects in telecommunications infrastructure, transportation and governance.” – Jerome Lewis, director, Institute for Public Administration.
• “I am so sorry to hear this. He was a wonderful mentor, teacher, and scholar. Please send my sympathies to the SPPA community.” – Cara Robinson, interim department chair, Social Work and Urban Studies, Tennessee State University.
• “So very sorry to hear this news. A great loss to our little community of scholars. I send my sympathies to you and your colleagues.” – Margaret Harris, emeritus professor, Aston University, Visiting Professor Birkbeck, University of London.
• “Dr. Warren was a lifelong student of the nonprofit sector. He collaborated with Vincent and Eleanor Ostrom on their work and was a leading voice on urban communities. He was a member of the NVSQ editorial board and a long term supporter of ARNOVA. Many of his former students are nonprofit scholars throughout the world. I was proud to call him my friend and colleague. He will be missed.” – John McNutt, professor, School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware.
• “I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my professor and adviser Bob Warren. He was a decent human being, outstanding scholar, great mentor, and one of a kind adviser. Bob Warren will always hold a special place in my heart. I will truly miss him.” – Ali Abedin, former student, vice president of branch distribution strategy and operations at TD Bank.
• “It’s not an exaggeration to say that Bob was actually a hero to me. First, it was just because of his scholarly work, even though it took me several weeks to make the connection between nice Bob Warren down the corridor at the office and the Robert Warren whose work had inspired much of the approach I took to my dissertation. But then, as that hints, I learned to admire him at least as much for the way he lived his commitment to making the world a better place, not only through his critical scholarly work and teaching and community service, but also in his way of navigating the world and his day-to-day interactions with colleagues, students and neighbors. I feel very sharply the loss, but I also feel immeasurably enriched for having known him, and I will see around me for many years all of the ways in which he contributed.” – Jonathan Justice, professor, School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware.
• “This is sad news indeed. So sorry to hear of his passing. He was a titan. The many of us Delaware students whose lives he touched will miss him dearly.” – Todd O’Boyle, former student.