Lawrence Clarke, SCC sociology professor, (left) receives a plaque from
college President Lee Lambert.
Shoreline Community College has been in existence for 45 years.
Larry Clarke has seen 40 of those as a faculty member and on Wednesday, March 17, 2010, his record and service were recognized by the Board of Trustees.
“Thanks for being the kind of person who makes a difference in my world,” are the words of one of Clarke’s student, read by Vice President for Academic Affairs John Backes as he introduced the sociology professor. “He always carries his responsibilities as a faculty member at the highest standard that any of us could meet. And, he does it every day.”
Backes said that when told of the planned honor, Clarke said, “I don’t want to be recognized. My teaching speaks for itself.”
Clarke has come a long way.
He started his life journey on the northern coast of South America, born in what was then called British Guiana, now the independent nation of Guyana. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Wilberforce University, the oldest private, historically black university in the U.S., and then his master’s degree in community social work at Wayne State University. Then, in the fall of 1969, when Nixon was a new President and the war in Vietnam was at its height, Larry joined the staff at Shoreline Community College, where he began his career teaching sociology.
Prof. Clarke’s life work has been one of understanding and acceptance and this philosophy carried over into the classroom. He has taught thousands of students the intricacies of social behavior and interaction and its relation to society as a whole. Many have said that they appreciate not only the knowledge and opportunity to expand their perceptions of the world and its people, but the fact that their instructor leads by example.
Comments from students include:
“This professor has been a mentor, an exemplary advisor and counselor to me.”
“Each time we meet, I leave with more knowledge.”
Over the years, Prof. Clarke has seen many of his students go on to get doctorate degrees in sociology and start their own careers teaching at the college level.
Clarke has given to the college in many other forms. In 1970, he helped found the college’s first Ethnic Studies Department, now called Intra-American Studies and he has always been very active on affirmative-action committees. He participated on hiring committees for the college president as well as faculty positions including criminal justice, philosophy and, of course, sociology and was a member of the Union Executive Board.
A colleague spoke to the personal side of Clarke: “One of Larry’s great gifts is friendship. He genuinely cares about and values people - and the political and social spectrum of people who call Larry a friend is remarkable.”
SCC/Jim Hills and Donna Myers