Obituary: Scott Alan Warren

Inspirational teacher, administrator and mentor

After a long and brave confrontation with esophageal cancer, Scott Allan Warren died peacefully in his sleep on April 8, 2017 at the age of 65. He had excellent and compassionate medical caregivers, and his last days were marked by a stream of visitors. He remained gracious and optimistic to the end. 

He was born on February 3, 1952 to Cal and Merlene Warren at Scott Air Force Base in Lebanon, Illinois.  As his father was a career US Air Force officer, Scott and his three siblings had an adventure-filled childhood, living in a variety of locales across the United States and Europe, including Great Falls, Montana, Long Island, New York and McLean and Manassas, Virginia. A three-year stay in Germany jumpstarted his lifelong interest in German language and culture.

Mr. Warren was a scholarship student at the University of Virginia, where he became the protégé of the internationally known political theorist Dante Germino. He received his Bachelor of Arts with high distinction, with a double major in government and international relations from his beloved UVA in 1973 and was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He then received a full scholarship and teaching fellowship to Claremont Graduate School (now Claremont Graduate University), where he studied under Gerald Jordan and Lucian Marquis and earned his Master of Arts and PhD in government. During this time, while spending summers in Alaska, he met and married his wife Kay, an art historian.

A gifted teacher, Mr. Warren held faculty positions at Occidental College, the Otis Art Institute and the University of Colorado before he was appointed dean of freshmen at Pomona College, where he continued to teach undergraduate courses in political theory and philosophy, as well as graduate courses in the same subjects at the Claremont Graduate School. He became part of a nationally recognized student affairs team led by Richard Fass that emphasized the academic importance of the college experience. During this time his book, The Emergence of Dialectical Theory: Philosophy and Political Inquiry, was published by the University of Chicago Press. He also produced numerous scholarly articles that focused on political theory and its importance as a tool for political and intellectual liberation. He ultimately served as acting vice president for student affairs at Pomona before he became dean of students and vice president for student affairs at Denison University, where he took on the challenge of the reform of Denison’s entrenched fraternity system for four long years. 

Needless to say, when Antioch College offered him the position of dean of students and then associate professor of political science and philosophy he jumped at the chance, as Antioch and its history of educational innovation had long been a model for him. In his years at Antioch, he was known as a tireless advocate for students, a buoyant optimist, inspirational teacher and empathetic advisor. The college students and community leaned heavily on Scott as the school experienced challenges, and he publicly led, privately advised and mentored many young people. By the time Antioch University was ready to shutter the college’s doors, Mr. Warren had more advisees than any other faculty and was the sole full-time philosophy faculty member. After the closure of the college he was fully dedicated to the mission of the Non-Stop Liberal Arts Institute, which kept the spirit of the college alive, and later became a Morgan Fellow, one of five former faculty members who created a new curriculum for the new Antioch College. Regretfully, Mr. Warren, like the other Morgan Fellows and many other faculty, was not hired to teach when the college re-opened. Wilmington College then invited him to be a visiting lecturer in humanities and an advisor for at-risk students for three years until students lobbied to have him named the director of the Philosophy Individualized Master of Arts Program at Antioch University Midwest, a position he held until the program was recently eliminated. Despite the challenges of his last illness, Scott found great joy in the village of Yellow Springs, and loved to do daily errands and chat with all he met.

He is survived by his wife Kay Koeninger and son David Alan Warren of Yellow Springs, his brother Mark Warren of Sequim, Washington, sisters Lynn Warren Leathers of Somerset, Kentucky and Karen Warren Laughlin of Fountain Hills, Arizona, and numerous nieces and nephews. A celebration of his life will take place at Christ Episcopal Church in Springfield, Ohio on May 20.  Donations in Scott’s name may be sent to either the American Civil Liberties Union or the Esophageal Cancer Research Fund at the James Cancer Center at Ohio State University.


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