About Clark



Clark University Turns 125

Clark 125th logoOn March 4, 1887, at a hearing of the Massachusetts Legislature, Jonas C. Clark announced his intention to build an institution of higher learning that would provide "the utmost breadth and freedom both of teaching and of investigation."

This year, Clark celebrates the 125th anniversary of its incorporation, continuing the mission of liberal education that Jonas Clark articulated.

A century and a quarter may seem like a blip on a timeline, but consider that in Clark's relatively brief history the University has persevered with the country through two world wars and The Great Depression, helped champion equal rights for minorities and women, and experienced the wondrous technological and scientific advances that have lengthened your life span while simultaneously quickening the pace at which you live it.

Explore Clark's history decade by decade
1880 | 1890 | 1900 | 1910 |1920 | 1930 | 1940 | 1950 | 1960 | 1970 | 1980 | 1990 | 2000 | 2010


Were one to compose a list of memorable people who have walked this campus, there would be no shortage of worthy inclusions. The Clark story is graced by the likes of physics professor Robert Goddard, whose rocketry experiments ushered in the Space Age; Theodore Roosevelt, who delivered the University's first public-commencement address; and former trustee Alice Higgins, whose generosity, vision and indefatigable spirit were essential in shaping the modern-day Clark.

Jonas Clark's words about educating with "the utmost breadth and freedom" still resound, and values like resilience, innovation, collaboration, and the willingness to apply the fruits of Clark scholarship and insight toward finding solutions for the world's most pressing problems remain the University's cornerstones.

The date "1887" etched into Jonas Clark Hall speaks to this institution's solidity. And the learning and research being conducted today inside JCH, and in the classrooms and laboratories across campus, speak to the dynamic Clark University narrative that continues to be written.

Highlights of the 25 years since Clark's centennial in 1987

President Richard P. Traina (1984 - 2000)

1988 Maywood Street Residence Hall opens…"Women on the Frontiers of Research," a conference bringing together women scholars from a broad spectrum of major academic fields, is held at Clark. The University also hosts "Euthanasia and the Future of Medicine: Europe, American and the Hippocratic Tradition," featuring U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop as a speaker…In sports, the men's basketball team wins the NCAA Division III South Title.

1989 As part of Clark's Speakers Forum, Gloria Steinem speaks on "Democracy and Feminism in the 1990s."

1990 The recycling center opens. Operated by student employees and volunteers, the center diverts an average of 200 tons of material every year…Former President Gerald Ford addresses the Clark student body about the Iraqi crisis and global issues.

1991 The Higgins University Center, named for former Clark trustee and philanthropist Alice C. Higgins, opens. This same year, the George Perkins Marsh Institute is founded to examine human-environment relationships, and the Jacob Hiatt Center for Urban Education is established, focusing on teacher preparation, professional learning and leadership development…Clark's first annual Academic Spree Day highlights undergraduate research and creative activity.

1994 Clark's Accelerated B.A./Master's Degree Program is launched, allowing qualified Clark undergraduates to pursue a master's degree in one of 14 areas with the fifth year of study tuition-free…John F. Kennedy Jr. addresses the student body on the topic of political involvement…Renowned MIT linguistics professor Noam Chomsky speaks to the Clark community about human rights.

1995 The James and Ada B. Bickman Fitness Center opens in the Kneller Athletic Center…Clark University is awarded $2.4 million in federal grant money for the University Park Neighborhood Restoration Project…First annual Salute to Faculty Scholars is held.

1996 Clark is one of 40 colleges featured in Loren Pope's book "Colleges That Change Lives."…The College of Professional and Continuing Education establishes a graduate-level branch campus in Israel. Campuses in Poland (2004) and Russia (2008) follow.

1997 Clark and the Worcester Public Schools partner to open the University Park Campus School, a full-fledged, Worcester Public School for grades 7-12 in the Main South neighborhood…Francis A. Harrington House is dedicated, marking the move of the Clark president's residence back to campus and reaffirming the University's commitment to the neighborhood.

1998 The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies opens. The Center offers the first Ph.D. program in the world for the study of the Holocaust and genocide studies. Cohen-Lasry House opens one year later as the Center's permanent home…Nobel Laureate Jody Williams addresses students in Tilton Hall about the presence of land mines in parts of the world.

1999 The Sigmund Freud statue in Red Square is dedicated.

President John E. Bassett (2000 - 2010)

2000 Clark's International Development, Community and Environment Department is established to foster environmental sustainability, social justice, and economic well-being in both the developing and developed world…The women's basketball team wins the NEWMAC championship, and makes it to the second round of the NCAA playoffs…First annual Fall Fest showcasing undergraduate research and creative work is held.

2001 John E. Bassett is officially inaugurated as the eighth president of Clark University…Senator John Kerry leads a town meeting in Tilton Hall in October to discuss the Sept. 11 attacks…Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen speaks at Commencement…Worcester Education Partnership (the Worcester Public Schools and Clark's Jacob Hiatt Center for Urban Education) receives an $8 million "Schools for a New Society" grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York…The Anton Fellowship Program providing funding for undergraduate research is established.

2002 The Traina Center for the Arts, named for former president Richard Traina and his wife Polly, opens…The first annual International Gala is performed…Clark Community Engagement and Volunteering Center opens.

2003 The Thomas M. and Joan E. Dolan Field House opens, accompanied by the reconfiguration and renovation of the athletic fields and the Corash Tennis Courts…Russia's former foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev addresses Clark students in Razzo Hall on the subject of the Iraq war.

2004 Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky is featured as part of President's Lecture Series…University Park Partnership receives the Jimmy and Roslyn Carter Partnership Award for Campus-Community Collaboration…Clark's Academic Advancement department is established to support domestic students of color and first-generation students.

2005 The Cathy '83 and Marc '81 Lasry Center for Bioscience opens, and later receives LEED Gold certification…Ambassador L. Paul Bremer II, administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority that was in charge of reconstructing the government in Iraq, speaks with Clark students about the war…Former Ambassador Joe Wilson, husband of CIA operative Valerie Plame of the Plame Affair, addresses the Clark student body…The Innovation and Entrepreneurship minor is launched…The first Academic Clark Excellence (ACE) Summer Institute, a pre-orientation program for domestic students of color and first-generation students, is held.

2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder discusses his book "Mountains Beyond Mountains" at the President's Lecture…Clark launches the Difficult Dialogues initiative with major funding from the Ford Foundation …The Steinbrecher Fund for undergraduate research is created.

2007 The Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise is established with a generous $10 million donation from William '76 and Jane '75 Mosakowski…Clark signs the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment as a charter signatory. Two years later, Clark releases its Climate Action Plan with the goal of achieving climate neutrality by the year 2030…Clark's Graduate School of Management celebrates its 25th anniversary…LEED Silver-certified Blackstone Residence Hall opens…Clark's department of International Development, Community and Environment is chosen to be the coordinating unit for United Nations aids2031, a global consortium seeking solutions to the AIDS crisis…The Graduate School of Management turns 25.

2008 U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses a crowd of 3,500 in the Kneller Athletic Center on Feb. 4. Daughter Chelsea Clinton visits Clark three weeks later.

2009 The "Freud Revisited: 1909-2009" conference is held, with Sigmund Freud's granddaughter, Sophie Freud, delivering the President's Lecture…The Academic Commons at Goddard Library opens…The Mosakowski Institute hosts educational leaders from around the country at its conference, "Liberal Education and Effective Practice."

President David P. Angel (2010 - present)

2010 David P. Angel is inaugurated as Clark's ninth president…A gift of more than $14.2 million—the largest single gift in Clark history—provides for the establishment of the Ruth and John Adam Education Fund, created to enhance Clark's nationally recognized model for urban secondary education and reform…Eminent education historian Diane Ravitch delivers the first annual Gurel Lecture in Education.

2011 The Bassett Admissions Center, named for former Clark President John Bassett and his wife Kay, opens…The Clark men's and women's swimming and diving teams are recipients of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America 2011 Scholar All-America Team Award…The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, in partnership with Jewish World Watch, convenes the first international summit of its kind, "Informed Activism: Armed Conflict, Scarce Resources, and Congo."…The Higgins School of Humanities celebrates its 25-year anniversary…Dr. Jane Lubchenco, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, delivers the annual Geller Lecture, "Growing a Sustainable Future: Reasons for Urgency and Hope."

2012 Activist Tom Hayden addresses the Clark community as part of the Difficult Dialogues project…Clark is named to 2012 President's Honor Roll for community service…Celebrating its 25-year anniversary is IDRISI, geographic analysis and image processing software developed by geography professor Ron Eastman and his team at Clark Labs…Clark launches LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice), a pioneering model for higher education that combines a traditional liberal arts experience with authentic engagement in the world and workplace.