Clark Foundation gives Tech $15M to expand access to engineering education

Friday, March 9, 2018

By Kay Kinard and Joshua Stewart

James Clark, former president and CEO of Clark Construction and founder of the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation. The foundation has given Georgia Tech $15 million to create a Clark Scholars Program for students who want to study engineering. (Photo Courtesy: A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation)
James Clark, former president and CEO of Clark Construction and founder of the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation. The foundation has given Georgia Tech $15 million to create a Clark Scholars Program for students who want to study engineering. (Photo Courtesy: A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation)

The A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation is giving $15 million to the Georgia Tech College of Engineering to establish a Clark Scholars Program that will help talented students with financial need study engineering.

The program will blend rigorous engineering courses with business classes, community service, leadership training, and intensive summer programs for 10 students per year. The goal is to have 40 Clark Scholars enrolled at Tech by fall 2021, focusing on students from backgrounds under-represented in engineering.

"Our partnership with the Clark Scholars Program will have a huge impact on our ability to attract the best and brightest young minds to the College of Engineering and will further cultivate an inclusive and diverse student body,” said Steve McLaughlin, dean and Southern Company Chair of the College. “The entrepreneurial spirit, community-minded values, and continuous strive to achieve excellence that is encouraged by the Clark Scholars Program aligns perfectly with the mission of the College."

The Clark Foundation extends the legacy of businessman, engineer and philanthropist James Clark, who was the president and CEO of Clark Construction. It was important to him to give back, said Bill Calhoun, a 1981 civil engineering graduate from Tech and now Clark Construction’s vice chairman and executive vice president. Calhoun recently came back to campus for the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Hyatt Distinguished Alumni Leadership Speaker Series, and he told students giving back is one of his core principles of leadership.

“I had the good fortune to be mentored by and work with Mr. Clark for a lot of years,” Calhoun said. “Mr. Clark’s probably the most philanthropic person and family — and created that culture in our company — that I’ve ever met. I’m proud to say that his foundation has started a Clark Scholars Program here at Georgia Tech.”

“We are honored to have the opportunity to establish the A. James Clark Scholars Program at Georgia Tech,” said Joe Del Guercio, president and CEO of the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation. “With a focus on underrepresented students, the core curriculum includes a rigorous engineering and business course of study, as well as leadership and community service activities — which reflects Mr. Clark’s values as a businessman and philanthropist.”