Reminiscences of Dr. Alexander Clark, 1929-2009
Former Administrator Served as VP for Academic Affairs, Acting President
June 3, 2009
Alex was famous for his reasoned decision making, but often it required a rather detailed explanation. Bryce Jordan (1st President of UTD) used to say that Alex did not talk in sentences but rather in paragraphs. However, he taught me two terse adages which reflected his sagacity.
His first saying was that “It is always darkest, just before the lights go out.”
The second was even more apropos:
“The cardinal rules of being a good administrator are first not sweating the small stuff, and secondly realizing it is all small stuff.”
John Wiorkowski, Vice Provost
About Alex. He was the person who really set the academic agenda for UTD from day #1. There is a document called the “Precis” that was the “plan” for UTD developed in the 1970s. The materials that Austin shared with me focused on the early years. It said little about the next decade when he was the key academic person in the development of a curriculum for hiring the dean and Faculty for the Jonsson College of Engineering and Computer Science. He also was the academic leader who led the way when we added the lower division. He was the initial director of the Cecil and Ida Green Center for the Study of Science and Society
Alex and I had very different academic styles, yet we worked together very closely for my years as President. We spent many hours talking things out, When a decision was made we fully supported each other.
He was a great guy. The excellence of the academic programs at UTD is a monument to his career and love of the University of Texas at Dallas.
Dr. Robert Rutford, Former President of UT Dallas
Alexander Clark was an outstanding administrator of great vision with a capacity to look far into the future. He arrived in the early '70s and undertook the daunting task of morphing a research community into a university.
Dr. Austin Cunningham, Dean of Graduate Studies
Alex the Lionhearted
by Kevin Finneran
We have lost a lion,
But one with a sparkling not a glaring eye
For he roared with laughter not with menace
And wore his majesty with grace.
We have lost a Scot,
But one who must have hid some Irish blood
For his whiskey made him merry
And he never squeezed a penny.
We have lost a scholar,
But one without a hint of pedantry
For he knew that learning needed life
And that life had more to teach us.
We have lost an ear,
But one not of ordinary kind
For in jazz he heard the Seraphim
And he spurred us all to listen.
We have lost a friend,
But surely he was more than that
For he made us all feel loved so well
And we will always be the better for it.
Dr. Alexander Clark
Born: 1929 in Johnshaven, Scotland