old photo of Jonas Clark buildi

For more than 130 years, Clark University has thrived at the nexus of world-class teaching, boundary-pushing discovery, and creative invention. The father of rocket science. The founder of the American Psychological Association. A co-inventor of the birth control pill. Members of our community have always challenged convention and found ways to change our world for the better.

Two Visions, One University

G Stanley Hall

founder

Jonas G. Clark

Successful Massachusetts entrepreneur, abolitionist, and book and art collector, Clark envisioned that his university would open with a rigorous but affordable undergraduate college for young men.

Carol Wright

First President

G. Stanley Hall

Appointed in 1888, Hall was a pioneering psychologist who studied adolescence and founded the American Psychological Association. His heart was set on a graduate-level, research-oriented institution.

black and white photo of kids sitting on hood of car for parade

Moments in Time

Our Collective Consciousness

A story map of Clark University would record the location of every event that has happened here since 1887. From candlelight vigils in Red Square, to victories on Dolan Field and Professor Nunnemacher’s classroom antics in Jonas Clark Hall, memories and traditions endure that bind Clarkies together.

Explore Clark’s history decade by decade.

10 Things You Don’t Know About Clark

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The launch pad of the space age

Physics professor and Clark alumnus Robert Goddard conducted his pioneering rocketry research in Clark laboratories. In 1926, he launched a liquid-fueled rocket on his aunt’s farm in Auburn, earning him the moniker “Father of Modern Rocketry.”

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The first book on the moon

When he stepped onto the moon in 1969, astronaut Buzz Aldrin carried with him two miniature autobiographies of Robert Goddard. He later gave a signed copy to Esther Goddard, the physicist’s widow, who donated the book to Clark’s library.

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Freud’s only lectures outside Europe

Sigmund Freud presented his Clark lectures in 1909 as part of a series of conferences held in observance of the University’s 20th anniversary. It would be Freud’s only visit to America, and his only lectures outside of Europe.

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Paul Siple invented the wind chill

In his doctoral research, Paul Siple, Ph.D. ’39, advanced the theory of wind chill and created an index to measure it — the wind chill factor. He later traveled seven times to Antarctica and named a mountain range there after Clark.

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Clark professor made Nobel Prize history

In 1907, former Clark physics professor Albert Michelson became the first American awarded a Nobel Prize in the sciences for the development of the interferometer, an instrument designed to measure lengths and velocities of light.

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The birthplace of the Pill

While a biology professor at Clark, Gregory Pincus conducted research paving the way for the birth control pill. He later founded the Worcester Foundation of Experimental Biology, which released the final version of the Pill to the public in 1960.

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TR addressed Clark’s first commencement

President Theodore Roosevelt delivered the commencement address for Clark College’s first public undergraduate commencement ceremonies in 1905. Degrees were conferred on Clark’s class of 43 men.

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The 'father of black psychology'

In 1920 African-American Francis Cecil Sumner earned a Ph.D. in psychology at Clark, becoming the first black person in the U.S. to earn a doctorate in that field. He would go on to found the department of psychology at Howard University.

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Commemorating a force of nature

Heteropsyllus nunni, a minute crustacean inhabiting estuaries along the east coast of North America, was named for former biology professor Rudolph Nunnemacher. Both loved and feared by his students, he was one of Clark’s longest-serving professors.

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Rocking the stage at Clark

Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor all performed at Clark. The Grateful Dead blew out the sound system. (It’s been fixed.)

The launch pad of the space age

Physics professor and Clark alumnus Robert Goddard conducted his pioneering rocketry research in Clark laboratories. In 1926, he launched a liquid-fueled rocket on his aunt’s farm in Auburn, earning him the moniker “Father of Modern Rocketry.”

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Spree Day

Twist and Shout

Spree Day

An evolving event since 1903, Clarkies let loose when classes are canceled one day each spring. Then it was rope pulls and greased pole climbs; now, it’s bounce houses, bands, and burgers under Freud’s watchful gaze.

International Gala

A Global Party

International Gala

Produced and performs by students, Clark’s popular annual spring showcase of international dance and music — from traditional to contemporary — celebrates the diverse cultures and talents of our community.