Founded in 1887 by farmer and self-made millionare Jonas Gilman Clark, Clark University is one of the leading educational institutions in the world. Along with Harvard University and Yale University, it was one of the only three New England universities to be a charter member of the Association of American Universities. As both a teaching and research oriented university, Clark has hosted such notables as A. A. Michleson, the first Nobel Prize winner from the United States and rocketry pioneer Robert Goddard. Depending on your sources, it is said that the birth control pill was invented at Clark University. So, why is Clark so often overlooked when great universities are mentioned? Probably its location. Clark University is located almost at the center of Worcester, Massachusetts. I spent a great number of years living in Worcester. It is a black hole.
In 1909, Clark University hosted a conference organized by G. Stanley Hall, who was both the first president of Clark University and the founder of the American Psychological Association. The conference was attended by 175 of the brightest minds in the field of psychology, including Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. The conference became the introduction of psychoanalysis to the United States, for better or for worse. This led to its legacy as the leading university for the study of psychology.
On Main Street in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University has the bad fortune of being in one of the less pleasant areas of a city that rarely looks very good while you are sober. It is like a little oasis, and the violent and vagrant masses usually try to walk quietly past it. A bar I once watched a man shot to death outside of is just a block away. Yet, inside these hallowed halls, and the secret passageways that wind through it, there is a collection of some of the brightest and most creative minds of this or any generation. Clark has always had a focus on independent and creative thought as part of the learning process that is tied to rather rigorous and detailed academic studies. It should also be noted that the university's geography department has a history of being rather dominant and well known around the various geographic areas of the world.
Clark University has a large number of students from outside the United States. It prides itself on diversity, both in thought as well as in the national origin of students and faculty. It actively pushes for interaction between undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty. It likes to think of itself as a school without walls. Those walls that are there are made of brick and sometimes ivy grows on those walls. It was the the second university in the United States to offer graduate programs of study and continues to redefine the nature of continuing education through their College of Professional and Continuing Education (COPACE).
Superfluous Personal Reflection
I have a strange connection to Clark University. In the second grade I was one of the subjects of a childhood development study focusing on supposedly gifted kids conducted by graduate students at Clark. I took classes there as part of a study on how high school students would react to a college environment while in high school. Of course, I was in grammar school and they were in high school, but anyway... They really took pleasure in messing with my mind when I was a kid.
I have a strange connection to Clark University. In 1986 I met a girl who was working towards her doctorate in psychology there and had an on again, off again relationship with for three and a half years. Her roommate was in the same program and they both had an emotional breakdown as a result. Clark takes psychology very seriously and they demand nothing less than perfection before handing out doctorates. Lisa eventually dropped out of the program because she began needing medication to get through the day. Her roommate settled for a master's degree and moved back to California.
I have a strange connection to Clark University. They used to show movies that didn't get much attention in theatres and I enjoyed those kinds of films. Yet, the time and location of the film screenings kept changing. Some years later I was hired to handle the administration of campus bookings. The first thing I did was insure that the film screenings were always held at the same location and at the same time. Then I fell for the women's soccer coach during a hiatus from the doctorate seeking girlfriend. I was on the verge of understanding the dark mysteries of the secret passageways that wove their way through the campus when my job was eliminated. I interviewed for another opening and didn't get the job. A few months later I ended up working for the post office. I became the mailman for the woman who didn't give me the job. She tipped well at Christmas time.
My old catalog and handbook
And my fading memories.
PS: Sorry about making fun of Worcester again
I lived there for almost 25 years, so I am fully qualified.