Clark University

Clark University is a private university and liberal arts college in Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1887 by the industrialist Jonas Clark, it is the oldest institution founded as an all-graduate university. Clark now also educates undergraduates. It is one of only three New England universities, with Harvard and Yale, to be a founding member of the Association of American Universities. Clark withdrew membership from the Association of American Universities in 1999 due to its shift from research to undergraduate education.

History and background

Clark's first president was G. Stanley Hall, founder of the American Psychological Association, who earned the first Ph.D. in psychology in the United States at Harvard. Clark has played a prominent role in the development of psychology as a distinguished discipline in the United States ever since. It was the location for Sigmund Freud's famous "Clark Lectures" in 1909, introducing psychoanalysis to the United States. Franz Boas, founder of American cultural anthropology and advisor for the first Ph.D. in anthropology, taught at Clark between 1888 and 1892 before resigning (in a dispute with Hall over academic freedom) and moving to Columbia University. [Author: W. Carson Ryan Publication: New York: The Carnegie Foundation, 1939. Clark University, 1887-1987: A Narrative History, Author: William A. Koelsch Publication: Worcester: Clark University Press, 1987.] Albert Abraham Michelson, the first American to receive a Nobel Prize in Physics, best known for his involvement in the Michelson-Morley experiment, which measured the speed of light, served as a professor from 1889 to 1892. In the 1920s Robert Goddard, a pioneer of rocketry, considered one of the founders of space and missile technology, served as chairman of the Physics Department. The Goddard Library, a distinctive modern building by architect John M. Johansen was completed in 1969

Clark Firsts

Clark University was the second institution in the U.S. with Ph.D. programs. Clark's geography program is the only one in North America to have a mountain range named for it. The Clark Mountains, Antarctica, were named by one of program’s graduates, Paul Siple, famed meteorologist, explorer and inventor of the “wind chill factor.” Siple named the peaks of the Clark Mountains after his faculty instructors: Jones, Atwood, Burnham, Ekblaw, and Van Valkenburg. George Blakeslee was history professor from 1903 – 1943 founded the first journal about international relations, which was later absorbed by Foreign Affairs.

Clark and the Community

In 1985, the university engaged in a partnership with community groups and business organizations to revitalize Clark neighborhoods. Its efforts in the University Park Partnership program include refurbishing dilapidated or abandoned homes, reselling them to area residents, and subsidizing mortgages for new home buyers. In 1997, Clark opened a secondary public school, the University Park Campus School (UPCS), that is also a professional development school for Clark’s teacher education program. Because of its long hours and demanding curricula, UPCS has been lauded as a model for collaboration between a university and an urban district. Students are able to attend Clark University free of charge upon graduation, provided they meet certain residency and admissions requirements. In the May 16, 2005, issue of Newsweek, UPCS was named the 68th best high school in the nation. On November 22, 2007, UPCS was featured in a cover story entitled “Town-gown triumph In poorest part of Worcester, Clark helps put children on path to college” in the Boston Globe, by Peter Schworm, Globe Staff.

The UPCS collaborative is one of several sponsored by Clark's Jacob Hiatt Center for Urban Education focused on urban teacher education and school reform.

Recent Developments

In recent years, Clark has received widespread media coverage for its "Fifth-Year Free" program. Under Clark's BA/MA program with the fifth year free, undergraduates who maintain a B+ average are eligible for tuition-free enrollment in its one-year graduate programs, meaning that they can get a Master of Arts degree for the price of a bachelor's degree. Students apply to master's degree programs in their junior year, begin meeting requirements in their senior year and typically complete those requirements in the fifth year. Bachelor's degrees are granted en route to the master's degree.

Clark has marketed its programs off-campus and accepting a student body largely from out of the city and often from out of the state. Clark’s student body comes from all over the country and world. 68% of Clark undergraduate students are from outside Massachusetts and 8% are from abroad. The entire student body of undergraduate and graduate students is 16% international.[Source=Clark University Fall 2007 Enrollment Report; Clark has developed a reputation as a free-thinking institution. In recent years, Clark has been noted especially for its geography and psychology departments, with the latter having a distinctive, if increasingly unfashionable "humanistic" orientation (humanistic psychology). The School of Geography was founded by then President Wallace Atwood in 1921, and is the first institution in the United States established for graduate study in this science. It has granted more doctoral degrees than any other geography program in the country. The geography department is best known for its strength in human-environment geography and for the development of the Idrisi geographic information systems software by Prof. Ron Eastman. It was ranked #1 for undergraduate geography by Rugg's Recommendations on Colleges and has consistently been ranked in the top 10 in the nation by other publications. The geography department also offers a graduate-level degree in GIS as part of the Fifth-Year Free program. The department's mission is ambitious: "to educate undergraduate and graduate students to be imaginative and contributing citizens of the world, and to advance the frontiers of knowledge and understanding through rigorous scholarship and creative effort."

The total cost of tuition, room and board for the 2007- academic year is $39,000.00 which reflects a tuition increase of 4.49% from 2006-07.

Research Centers and Institutes

Clark has eight research institutes and centers.

The William and Jane Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise seeks to improve through the successful mobilization of use-inspired research the effectiveness of government and other institutions in addressing social concerns. The institute focuses on important social issues, including focal areas such as education reform, environmental sustainability, access to healthcare, human development, well-being and global change.

The George Perkins Marsh Institute was founded specifically to conduct collaborative, interdisciplinary research on human-environment relationships and the human dimensions of global environmental change.

The Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies faculty draw on a wide range of disciplines—from history, to psychology, sociology and literature, to name a few—to understand the causes of the Holocaust and genocide in the hope of preventing future atrocities.

The Jacob Hiatt Center for Urban Education is becoming a national leader in education reform. Its core mission is to develop exemplary models of urban schooling, teaching and teacher education through local partnership, in order to learn from these models and expand the knowledge-base of effective practice through research. This work serves as a catalyst for positive change both locally and nationally.

The Center for Risk and Security (CRS) at the George Perkins Marsh Institute conducts in-depth studies of homeland security issues using a risk-analysis perspective. The Center's broad range of security issues includes: terrorism; disaster management; law and human rights; resource availability; and public health.

The Center for Technology, Environment and Development (CENTED) , founded in 1987, is internationally recognized as one of the oldest and most prominent centers for the study of natural and technological hazards in the United States. Current projects include theoretical work on hazard analysis, hazard taxonomies, vulnerability, environmental equity, corporate risk management, emergency planning and hazardous waste transportation.

The Center for Community-Based Development (CCBD) is the research arm of the IDCE Program. CCBD works with host country colleagues and institutions to help local communities increase productivity and conserve natural resources. CCBD disseminates its approach and research through publications and training courses, both at Clark and overseas. Clark Labs for Cartographic Technologies and Geographic Analysis is an international leader in the development of computer software and analytical techniques for monitoring and modeling environmental change. Clark Labs continues to develop and distribute IDRISI, a Geographic Information System (GIS) software package that is in use at more than 10,000 sites in over 100 countries worldwide.

Clark Labs for Cartographic Technologies and Geographic Analysis is an international leader in the development of computer software and analytical techniques for monitoring and modeling environmental change. Clark Labs continues to develop and distribute IDRISI, a Geographic Information System (GIS) software package that is in use at more than 10,000 sites in over 100 countries worldwide.


As with many urban universities, Clark has had some difficulty in the past with safety issues. While crime on campus is rare (including crimes typically associated with colleges, such as drug and alcohol abuse), some violent crime near campus has occurred, as well as theft of items inside parked cars, vandalism, etc. Clark has taken measures to help ensure the safety of its community. The University Police Department is a full-service law enforcement agency with thirteen officers who are on patrol 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All are duly certified police officers, empowered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to carry firearms and make arrests. Additionally, the Clark University Escort service provides van and foot escorts to take students around the campus and local area from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily. Students, faculty and others related to Clark University call a number and a dispatcher directs the vans (at least 2 run at all times per shift) to the location of the pick-up. Students are encouraged to use Van Escort as a means to avoid safety and legal issues, such as drunk-driving. An average of 120 people use the Escort daily, with numbers increasing significantly on weekends. The service operates within roughly a quarter-mile radius of the campus. View the Clark University Security Report.


Students entering Clark must live on campus for the first two years unless their primary address is within 25 miles of campus. The residence halls at Clark are organized by those who live there; the

  • First Year Experience halls: (Bullock, Sanford and Wright),
  • Mixed Class halls (Johnson, Dana and Hughes)
  • Single Sex hall (Dodd)
  • Suite-style and Apartment-style halls (Maywood and Blackstone)

Clark also owns apartments which, while outside of the main campus area, exclusively house Clark students.

The first Clark residence halls (Wright and Bullock) opened in 1959. Blackstone, the newest of the halls, opened in 2007.

It should also be noted that, as of Fall 2007, gender blind/neutral housing is an option at Clark, meaning that students of different genders can room together, if requested.

Notable alumni and faculty


External links

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