Higgins School of Humanities

Alice Coonley Higgins


Alice Coonley Higgins was the first woman to join Clark's Board of Trustees in 1963; she went on to be come the first woman chair of a board of trustees at an American research university, serving Clark in that capacity from 1967 to 1974.

Working with the support of Milton P. Higgins, her lifelong husband and partner, Alice showed remarkable leadership in big, innovative projects that dramatically changed Clark, including the funding and subsequent construction of the Robert Hutchings Goddard Library in 1969.

Independent in thought and spirit, she never failed to show interest in Clark's staff, students and faculty, often through unobtrusive but important acts: tulips and geraniums to beautify the campus, travel money for faculty to attend conferences, book funds for the library, and seed money for numerous projects. In 1986, Alice established an endowment for the Higgins School of Humanities; income from that fund is used to support the School's varied activities.