Robert D. Clark

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Robert Donald Clark (March 10, 1910 – June 28, 2005) was an American university administrator.

Early life[edit]

Robert Donald Clark was born in Frontier County, Nebraska, on March 10, 1910.[1] The family moved frequently.


He graduated from high school in Colorado. He received a B. A. in English (with a minor in History) from Pasadena College in 1931 and a M. A. in Speech from the University of Southern California in 1935[2] While at USC he also taught freshman composition at various colleges. He received his Ph.D. in 1946, also from USC. His dissertation was entitled “The Platform and Pulpit Career and Rhetorical Theory of Bishop Matthew Simpson.”

University of Oregon[edit]

While teaching composition classes at the University of Oregon, Clark was appointed to Assistant Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) in 1947, which he held until being chosen as Dean of CLA in 1955. He was president of the University of Oregon from 1969-1975. The Robert D. Clark Honors College on campus is named after him.[3]

Clark was president during many war protests on the campus,[3] including when students burned down the ROTC building, and when the National Guard marched onto campus and launched tear gas at protesting crowds. Throughout this period, Clark was known for defending the rights of students to protest and speak out against the war. Following the Kent State Shootings, protests on campus died down significantly.[4]

San José State University[edit]

From 1964 until 1969, Clark served as president of San Jose State College, where he was known for his support of the civil rights struggles of African-American athletes, including Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith.[5] He was the first president screened and nominated by a representative faculty group. “Clark envisioned his task as one of continuously improving the quality of the institution and making it more responsive to the intellectual needs and aspirations of the student body” (Gilbert and Burdick, 171). Despite the unrest and violence of the 1960s, Clark contributed much to the curriculum and set an example for mutual cooperation and community relations.[6]

A new five-story library that opened in early 1982 on the San José State University campus was named after former College President Clark.[7] More recently the library has been converted into Robert D. Clark Hall, a classroom building.


Clark was the subject of a short documentary in 2005 titled "Oregon's War at Home and the Man who Brought the Peace." Produced through the Oregon Documentary Project and created by University of Oregon students, it told the story of Clark's time as president of UO, and how he handled students protesting the Vietnam War. The film included Robert Clark's final on-camera interview, which was shot just a short time before he died at the age of 95.[8]

"Oregon's War at Home and the Man who Brought the Peace" won the Student Award at the 2006 Northwest Emmy Awards[9] and aired on Oregon Public Broadcasting.[10]

Other appointments[edit]

In 1936 he was the editor for the Western States Communication Association.[11]

Clark died June 28, 2005 in Eugene, Oregon.[5]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Guide to the Robert Clark papers at the University of Oregon
  3. ^ a b Robert D. Clark "The Robert D. Clark Papers at the University of Oregon". Robert D. Clark Honors College. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  4. ^ Godfred, Aaron (Producer), & Nelson, Chris R. (Director). (2005). Oregon's War at Home and the Man Who Brought the Peace [Documentary]. United States: Oregon Documentary Project.
  5. ^ a b UO obituary
  6. ^ "SJSU Presidents". San Jose State University. Retrieved 2014. 
  7. ^ The Journey of Wahlquist and Clark, 1923-1982
  8. ^ IMDB: Oregon's War at Home and the Man who Brought the Peace
  9. ^ 43rd Northwest Regional Emmy Awards
  10. ^ OPB Distribution
  11. ^ WSCA

External links[edit]