After more than 45 years of service, Al Clark, professor of humanities, head of the Honors Program and the International Studies Institute, will be retiring. Staff, faculty, students, family and friends gathered at the Campus Ballroom for Clark’s retirement ceremony. Clark was accompanied at the ceremony by his daughters and two grandsons. His wife, son and son-in-law joined the celebration through Zoom.
University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman, was the first among many to share words of gratitude toward Clark. She mentioned how important Clark’s work, kindness and presence has been to the University and community. She said he has always strived to follow the University’s missions and created memorable moments with his colleagues.
“He has been forever supportive in the life of the University, even when things got difficult, in administration or faculty, he always showed his engagement and stayed around,” Zandra Wagoner, University chaplain, said.
Clark has worked on the University Archival Project since 2014, doing extensive research on the history of the University and interviewing staff and alumni. Clark has also coordinated many of the blood drives at the University. He is known for doing things without being asked with the intention to better the community, and is driven by his passion for historical knowledge.
He taught the Arts and Culture in Los Angeles course, where he drove students around the city to show them the history and landmarks of Los Angeles. Clark has been a part of the board chair for the Church of the Brethren and a moderator in the Pacific Southwest district of the church, while also leading weekly spiritual studies.
He expressed his appreciation towards the University and the faculty that has worked alongside him in all his projects.
During his retirement, Clark will work on the cataloging of materials in the University archive and also hopes to become an adjunct professor and teach one class. He will continue to work on the Artful Reframing Project, focusing on ways to better the community.
“I have been working on a book about water for the longest time; no one thinks I am working on, I hope to publish it soon,” Clark said. “I also want to do a complete catalog of the art collection we have here at the University. I want to label and put tags on the art because there are a few pieces that have disappeared.”
Clark will be remembered for his willingness to take on projects and help others learn and grow while at the University, not just students but also faculty. He is known to be at almost every single campus event and has shown an immense amount of support to all departments.
“Al attended almost all the senior project presentations… he always was intrigued and asked the students questions making them feel heard and appreciated,” Seta Whitby, professor of computer science, said.
Faculty knows Clark for his love of exercise; he continues to ride his bike to the University every single day. He shares the importance of exercise and health with everyone.
“Al has a huge heart; every day during lunch, he was always running; he would even beat me home. He has taught us all to be healthy and active,” Deborah Hughes, associate director of real estate, said.
Clark’s position as the President of the La Verne Academy will be taken up by professor of political science Jason Neidleman.
Jasmine Soria can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.