Enhancing Engineering

February 02, 2011

Honorary degree recipient and former trustee donates $8 million to create scholarship program.

GW is poised to educate the world’s next leaders in engineering with an $8 million gift from a former trustee. A. James Clark, chairman of the board and CEO of Clark Enterprises Inc., has donated the sum to establish the A. James Clark Engineering Scholars program for top undergraduate engineering students.

“This transformative gift is a reflection of Jim Clark’s enthusiasm for our plans to build a new Science and Engineering Complex in the heart of this nation’s capital,” says GW President Knapp. “His vision and generosity will enable us to create a signature program to educate the next generation of engineering leaders.”

Housed in GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the program will choose Clark Engineering Scholars on the basis of merit and upon the recommendation of the SEAS dean, selection board of SEAS alumni, practicing engineers and faculty. Each Clark Engineering Scholar will be awarded an annual merit-based scholarship, renewed each year based on academic standing.

“I am very excited about the Clark Engineering Scholars program,” says Mr. Clark. “Clark Construction and GW have enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship. We have built many buildings together and our company has hired, and continues to employ, many fine GW graduates. Finally, and most importantly, education is the key to our nation’s future and the Clark Engineering Scholars program, coupled with a GW education, will provide an excellent foundation for a lifetime of opportunity, enjoyment and contributions to society.”

The Clark Engineering Scholars will also participate in a professional “boot camp” led by successful SEAS alumni, receive summer internship opportunities and take part in a semester abroad experience. In the future, Clark Engineering Scholars will lead the boot camp.

By July, five GW Clark Engineering Scholars will be selected for the 2011-12 academic year. Five new scholars will be selected each year until a cadre of 20 is in place by August 2014. The first boot camp will be held this August.

“The School of Engineering and Applied Science is extraordinarily grateful to Mr. Clark for his vision and generosity,” says SEAS Dean David Dolling. “His gift to establish the Clark Engineering Scholars program gives the school a signature program that will attract the most talented and ambitious young men and women to SEAS, and it provides an exceptional mix of student leadership training and experiences that very few programs across the country offer.”

One of the largest privately held companies in the nation, Clark Enterprises Inc., is the parent holding company of Clark Construction Group LLC, which has played a pivotal role in the building or renovating of several facilities at GW, including the Ivory Tower residence hall, the National Law Center, the Ambulatory Care Center and South Hall. The company is also involved in current projects on campus, including the Square 54 garage and office building.

As an engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Mr. Clark has been the recipient of many academic, professional and civic honors. He is a trustee emeritus at GW, The Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine; a board member of the University of Maryland College Park Foundation; and a member of the PGA Tour Golf Course Properties Advisory Board.

Mr. Clark received an honorary doctorate of engineering from GW in 2010.

To learn more about Power & Promise, click here.

To return to the George Washington Today homepage, click here.

The Power and Promise

Scholarship support equals the power of education for today's students and the promise of tomorrow's leaders.