Skip to content

John Bassett


Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) Mr. President, I have the honor of presenting John E. Bassett, distinguished professor of English and former president of Clark University. As a distinguished professor of English, focusing on American literature, you have published many books and scholarly articles, including notable works on two of Americas most famous writers, William Faulkner and Mark Twain. Dr. Bassett, you came to Clark University in 2000 to serve as this institutions eighth president. As president for ten years, you were the driving force for many of the wonderful achievements that we see and enjoy here today. These include the hiring of more than 80 new faculty members, the construction of the Lasry Center for Bioscience building and the Academic Commons in Goddard Library, and a significant increase in Clarks endowment. Your fundraising efforts led to the successful completion of a 100 million capital campaign. Under your leadership, Clarks partnership with the University Park Campus School, for children in grades 7-12, continued to achieve wonderful results. During your time at Clark, UPCS has ranked first among urban schools serving low-income students on state-mandated English and math graduation exams and in the top quartile of all high schools in the state. Over 95 of graduates have gone on to college. Nearly all are first generation college attendees. Your efforts were instrumental in promoting and encouraging the universitys successful partnership and commitment to its Main South neighborhood. In terms of your commitment to higher education, you are a nationally recognized leader. You testified at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor about the increasing costs of higher education. You have served as the immediate Chair of the Board and continue to serve as a board member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. You embody Clarks motto Challenge Convention, Change our World. Mr. President, on behalf of the Trustees, faculty, students and staff at Clark University, it gives me great pleasure to request that the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, be conferred upon Dr. John E. Bassett.