2-8-2010 Tom Clark, openly gay Trustee and alumni president

Just a sidebar on Tom Clark.

Aside from a reference in a Chronicle column on September 1, 2008, there was never any coverage in the campus newspaper of his trailblazing achievement.

Clark '69, a varsity swimmer, got through Duke even though the Dean of Undergraduate Men was carrying out a personal pogrom against gays at the time. How's this for a quote from the Dean: "There are two things we can't have around here: thieves and homosexuals."

Clark rose through the ranks of alumni to become President of the Alumni Association. Openly gay, he brought his partner of 30 years to official events.

He was a Trustee of the University, under provision of the by-laws making the alumni president an ex officio observing member and then voting member. Since trustees operate behind closed doors, there is no way of knowing what posture Clark took on any issue -- and it is reassuring to know from today's letter that he may have been watchful for gay interests.

In his professional life, Clark rose to be a division president in one of the world's largest financial institutions, US Trust. He is now retired.

I did not want the mention of his name in a Chronicle letter to go without impact. ✔That's what Fact Checker is all about.

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