Voices of Simmons

Remembering U.S. Ambassador and Former Warburg Chair of International Relations, Walter Carrington

It is with deep sadness that I write today to share news about the passing of U.S. Ambassador Walter Carrington, who served as the Warburg Chair of International Relations here at Simmons.

While Ambassador Carrington is most known for his extraordinary work and service as a diplomat and human and civil rights activist, he was also a scholar and beloved faculty member here at Simmons – serving as our University’s first African American Warburg Chair between 2004 and 2007. While I did not have the honor of knowing him personally, I had the opportunity to speak to many in our community who have been impacted by his tremendous contributions and legacy.

Here at Simmons, Ambassador Carrington was a colleague, friend, mentor and teacher. He was generous with his time and enjoyed working with our students and faculty. As a distinguished practitioner with significant experience in international relations and a passion for higher education, Ambassador Carrington embodied the very best of what we hope to find in our Warburg chairs. His lectures – a combination of theory and stories related to his service and experience – were often standing-room only. His passion and expertise played a crucial role in helping to grow Simmons’ international relations program, and he became a permanent fixture in our community – attending alumnae/i events, commencements and lecturing with future Warburg chairs.

Ambassador Carrington’s expertise and tenure at Simmons was steeped in his work in Africa, where he served as ambassador to Senegal during President Carter’s administration and ambassador to Nigeria during the Clinton administration – championing democracy and criticizing human rights abuses under the General Sani Abacha dictatorship. His legacy in Boston is no less significant. He was one of four Black students in his Harvard University class, debating Malcom X and befriending the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He also became the youngest member of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and led an investigation of the then all white Boston Red Sox.

Throughout his career, Ambassador Carrington seized each opportunity as a way to drive change in an uncertain world. The very qualities that continue to draw us to Simmons – our community’s commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusion – are values that he lived each day. At Simmons, we strive to empower students to become leaders in their professional, personal, and civic lives. This mission is made all the more powerful and attainable because of individuals like Ambassador Carrington, and our community is incredibly fortunate to have benefited from his energy, service, and commitment.

On behalf of Ambassador Carrington’s colleagues, former students and the whole Simmons community, we send our deepest condolences to his family, including his wife Arese, son Thomas, daughter Temisan, and grandson Reginald.

- Lynn Perry Wooten

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