Clark, James, 2018


Clark, James, 2018

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Dr. James Clark was born on April 11, 1930 in Wayne, Michigan. He moved around Michigan with his family during his early childhood, experiencing first-hand the effects of the Great Depression. His father worked at the Ford Motor Company and was later a farmer. Later in life Dr. Clark attended the University of Michigan and majored in social studies. Additionally, he has a master’s degree from the University of the Philippines and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in political science. James Clark would go on to work at various schools, including the University of Toulouse in France. He would eventually become Vice President of the University of Maine, and later President of SUNY Cortland. During his tenure as President, James Clark was instrumental in numerous projects to improve the life of students and faculty including the renovation of the Brown Auditorium and the first private fundraiser for the school. During his time as president, Dr. Clark took a hands-on approach, trying to interact with all the departments as much as possible so he could better understand the day to day happenings of his administration. During the interview Dr. Clark spoke on some of his most memorable students whose lives he impacted immensely, from Bill Thomas, a reformer of nursing homes, to James Thomas (No Relation), who opened a school in Taiwan and is also a radio personality there. Most notable among his achievements was the International Studies Program. From being a part of delegations in China to apprehending burglars with the SUNY Cortland football team in France, James Clark’s passion for international educational relations has been evident. In his personal life he has been a volunteer for various charitable organizations, and still resides in Cortland. James Clark was married to his wife Patricia Ann for many years before she passed away in 2016, and he has three children, Pamela, Matthew, and Timothy.

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The Interviewers; Cristina Brea, Alex Katavolos, and Zackary Modine are undergraduate students majoring in history at the State University of New York College at Cortland. This interview is part of Cortland’s 150th year-long history with a focus on Cortland alumni and former faculty being conducted as a project for History 329: “Oral History and Historical Memory” for fall 2018 under the teaching of Dr. Evan Faulkenbury, Professor of History.


Interview was conducted by Alexander Katavolos, Cristina Brea, and Zack Modine on October 10, 2018.


James Clark, Oral History, Sesquicentennial, Presdient, SUNY Cortland, Students

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These oral histories express the personal views, memories, and opinions of the interviewee. They do not represent the policy, views, or official history of SUNY Cortland.

Clark, James, 2018