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UMD Mourns Passing of Benefactor and Alumnus A. James Clark

The University of Maryland is mourning the loss of A. James Clark, a 1950 B.S. graduate in civil engineering, and benefactor of the university’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, which bears his name. Clark died today at the age of 87.

An accomplished engineer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Clark served as chairman and chief executive officer of Clark Enterprises, Inc., headquartered in Bethesda, Md. The company's largest subsidiary, Clark Construction Group, LLC, is one of the largest construction companies in the United States.

“Our entire community is very sad today as we pay tribute to A. James Clark,” said Clark School of Engineering Dean and Farvardin Professor of Aerospace Engineering Darryll Pines. “His generosity has benefited our college in so many ways, and his vision of excellence has had an enormous impact on our students, staff, and faculty. We will miss him greatly, and we will always remember him.”

Clark’s story is one of remarkable success in business. As a young man, fresh out of the University of Maryland in 1950, he joined a small local general contracting company that he would eventually own. Over the course of the next sixty years, his leadership and vision transformed it into one of the largest privately held companies in the nation.

In 1994, he established a $15 million endowment to name the University of Maryland’s School of Engineering, which subsequently became known as the A. James Clark School of Engineering. In 2005, established a new $30 million A. James Clark Scholarship Endowment to provide financial support for Clark School undergraduate engineering students based on merit, need and diversity. His gift strengthened the university’s ability to attract the most talented students nationally and helped address the nation's shortage of highly trained engineers.

“The entire University of Maryland community mourns the passing of Mr. A. James Clark. He made a huge difference in the world,” said University of Maryland President Wallace Loh. “He leaves a legacy of excellence in building and civil construction that has reshaped communities and strengthened infrastructure across the country. His devotion to the University of Maryland, his Alma Mater, has impacted the lives of thousands of students and hundreds of faculty members.  The A. James Clark School of Engineering, the A. James Clark Hall for bioengineering that is now underway, and the generations of Maryland students whose successful careers his generosity made possible, will forever stand as testament to a legendary engineer, a visionary leader, and a faithful Terp.”

Clark has been the recipient of many academic, professional and civic honors. A strong supporter of education, he served as a member of the University of Maryland’s Board of Regents and was an honorary Trustee of the University of Maryland College Park Foundation. He was also an Emeritus Trustee of the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a member of the PGA Tour Golf Course Properties Advisory Board. He previously served on the Boards of Carr America Realty Corporation, GEICO Corporation, PEPCO Holdings, Inc. and Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin). Clark was also a member of Phi Delta Theta.

Clark Construction is responsible for some of the most visible architectural landmarks in the country including the National Museum of the American Indian, FedX Field, and Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Clark Construction has also erected many of the buildings at the University of Maryland over the years, including the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building.

Clark is survived by his wife, Alice Bratton Clark; two sons, Paul Clark and his wife Carroll Parrish of Mill River, Massachusetts and A. James Clark, Jr. of Bethesda, Maryland; a daughter, Courtney Clark Pastrick and husband R. Scott Pastrick also of Bethesda, Maryland; and ten grandchildren.

March 20, 2015


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