The Marlboro Record

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Willene Clark Bequeaths Faculty Research Fund

A beloved art history professor at Marlboro College for many years, Willene Clark passed away in January 2015. In March, Marlboro received notification that Willene had generously provided for Marlboro’s future through her estate: a bequest of $100,000 was received to establish a faculty research fund. 

“Marlboro College remembers Willene Clark (pictured right, with colleague art history professor Felicity Ratte) for her dedication to teaching, her passion for learning, her enthusiasm for life, and now for her lasting generosity,” said Molly Fannon Williams, interim chief development officer. “Her gift will inspire many generations of Marlboro College faculty and students to come. In this way she will always keep on teaching.”

Proceeds from the Willene Clark Faculty Research Fund will support research projects by faculty across the curriculum. Among faculty, funds are in demand for research-related travel, books, and materials, including lab equipment, recording devices, software, etc. This new endowed source will guarantee that such support will be available in perpetuity. Funds may also be used to hire lab and research assistants, positions often filled by Marlboro students. The Clark Fund is the first gift of its kind to Marlboro—the first endowed fund devoted to faculty research.

In recent years, faculty research travel destinations have included Spain, Turkey, Italy, and Egypt. Dance professor Kristin Horrigan has applied for support to collaborate with colleagues in Berlin regarding gender and dance improvisation, and math professor Matt Ollis has applied for a research assistant to further develop his own work in combinatorics. Faculty research projects may lead directly to publication or performance, or be brought back into the classroom to expand Marlboro’s curriculum offerings. Either way, faculty research activities provide for a vibrant academic environment on campus, as demonstrated by Willene Clark’s own extraordinary teaching career. 

As trustee Ted Wendell commented, “Willene was part of the Marlboro fabric from the time she arrived in the sixties.” Willene was devoted to Marlboro and generous all along: annually she supported the Helen Clark Prize, in honor of her mother, recognizing a selected student’s outstanding Plan of Concentration in the fine arts. The Willene Clark Faculty Research Fund will guarantee that she has a lasting impact on the Marlboro fabric for years to come.