Title: Remembering Charles Schulz
Charles Schulz’s whimsical humor, both delightful and profound, will leave an empty place in the hearts of millions of readers around the world,” said Dr. Robert H. Reardon, president emeritus of AU. As Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty and the gang said so long to the world in the Sunday comics, so did Charles Schulz. Schulz died Saturday night in Santa Rosa, Calif. He was 77.
Sunday the final installment of the 50-year-long comic strip ran. In the last comic, Snoopy and Schulz were writing a good-bye letter to all of their fans. Schulz was diagnosed with colon cancer last fall and announced his retirement a few weeks later.
"I don't think we realized he was quite as sick as he was," said Dr. James L. Edwards, Anderson University president. "It's ironic when we read his last Sunday cartoon, we were actually reading his good-bye."
Schulz paid several visits to Anderson University as a guest speaker and to participate in dedication ceremonies of the Krannert Fine Arts Center. The Marvin L. Forbes Art Building, one of five in the center, was made possible through a gift from Schulz, who is an honorary graduate of AU.
"I met Charles Schulz at a reception in Anderson early in the 1950s which resulted in a strong friendship that lasted a half a century," added Dr. Reardon. "During this time, he has visited the Anderson University campus and contributed to the construction of the Krannert Fine Arts Center.
Schulz didn't want his name on the building. He gave the credit to his former pastor, Forbes.
The Peanuts creator was also connected to AU when he displayed his original drawings in 1980 in AU's Wilson Art Galleries. He donated a series of scholarly books on the Bible to AU in the fall of 1999. The volumes are currently housed in the Nicholson Library.
But although Schulz created Snoopy, the most recognizable character in the world - more so than Mickey Mouse or Garfield - his love of Peanuts and their world didn't come easy.
Sometimes Schulz was able to whip out a comic strip in a half an hour, other times, he would only finish a couple strips in an eight hour period.
In a 1979 visit to Anderson, Schulz stood before a group of AU students and teachers and in a few quick strokes, brought Snoopy to life on the chalkboard.
"That's just to show you I'm not a fake," he told them laughing.
"He communicated through his characters that he was always in touch with a very common part of humanity, the part in which we all live," added Edwards.
In Sunday's comic, he drew Snoopy at his typewriter for the last time.
"I have been grateful over the years for the loyalty of our editors and the wonderful support and love expressed to me by fans of the comic strip," Schulz said in the comic. "Charlie Browns, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy...how can I ever forget them..."
Schulz, how can we ever forget you?
Story segments were provided by reporter Stacey Grosh with the Anderson Herald-Bulletin.
Review story on the CNN Web site.
Review story on the official Peanuts Web site.
Illustrations used by permission from United Feature Syndicate, Inc.
Courtesy of the Associated Press .