Robert C. Clark, Jr., pioneered the incorporation of administrative and management sciences into the practice of adult and continuing education. As founding director of the National Agricultural Extension Center for Advanced Study at the University of Wisconsin--Madison, he led a significant revolution rooted in his strong conviction that the application of science could improve practice.
Born in 1912, he graduated from the Ohio State University in 1936 and, in 1938, earned his master’s degree in rural economics and sociology. Following three years of service in the Navy during World War II--as a result of which he was awarded a Navy commendation for his leadership--he received his doctorate in rural sociology from Iowa State University in 1950. He served on the faculties of Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin--Madison as well as serving as a visiting professor at a number of universities in the United States and abroad.
During his career, he chaired thirty-eight Ph.D. committees. Five of the candidates became university presidents and twelve have led state and federal extension organizations.
Dr. Clark received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Wisconsin-- Extension, the Distinguished Service Ruby Award (the highest honor from the Epsilon Sigma Phi, the honorary extension fraternity), and The Lamp of Knowledge Award presented by former Fellows of the National Agricultural Extension Center. He served as Executive Secretary-Treasurer of Epsilon Sigma Phi from 1980 to 1986.
His publications include Administration in Extension, Directing the Cooperative Extension Service, Cooperative Extension Service of USA, Rural Development in Nigeria, and A Framework for Analyzing Interorganizational Relations.
Dr. Clark died in 1994, but his influence on professionalism in extension and on the administration of extension continues to be felt. In addition to domestic achievements, through his work as an advisor for developing country programs, a consultant to the World Bank and other international groups, and organizing and staffing the Department of Extension and Rural Sociology at the University of Ife, Nigeria, he made an indelible mark on the world.
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