October 20, 2013
The Institute mourns the passing of Warner R. Schilling, who died in Bergen County, New Jersey, on October 20, 2013. He was 88 years old. Schilling grew up in the St. Louis Area, and served as a radio operator with the United States Army Air Force from 1943 to 1946. He received his AB, MA and Ph.D. from Yale University in 1954. After spending time at Princeton, Columbia and MIT, Schilling settled at Columbia, becoming the James T. Shotwell Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science, and serving as Institute Director from 1976-1986. He continued to teach well into his 80’s, and was still a Senior Research Scholar at SIWPS until the time of his death. He is the author of three books and numerous articles. His courses included, “American Strategies in World Politics,” “Causes of War,”, and “Weapons, War and Strategy.” This last course, which surveyed technology and warfare from medieval Europe through the present day, became legendary among undergraduates and graduate students. Schilling challenged students to rethink their assumptions about technological innovation and strategy, and argued that analyzing the present demanded an understanding of history. As Schilling noted in a 2003 interview with the Christian Science Monitor, “There are a whole host of questions that, even if you are only interested in the here and now, can best be answered by looking backward. It requires a greater leap of faith than I am willing to undertake to think that people are brighter in the year 2003 than they were in 1903 or 1803 or 1703. There are some things which have changed, but I don’t think there have been any major new innovations in human intelligence or human emotions.” A brilliant lecturer, an institutional force, and a thoughtful scholar, Schilling will be missed by his colleagues and students alike. A memorial service is planned for 2:00 p.m. on Friday, December 13, 2013, at St. Paul’s Chapel on the Columbia University campus.