Husson taps new president

Posted Oct. 22, 2009, at 8:21 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Maine native has been named the next president of Husson University, the board of trustees announced Thursday.

Robert A. Clark, 54, of Evansville, Ind., will replace President William Beardsley, who will step down in December after more than 20 years. Clark’s appointment becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2010.

Clark is vice president for strategic initiatives and the director for the Institute for Global Enterprise at the University of Evansville. He also is the Schroeder Family Dean and a professor of finance and international business at the university’s Schroeder Family School of Business Administration.

“Dr. Clark is a demonstrated leader with an entrepreneurial spirit,” Arthur D. Fuller, chairman of the Husson board of trustees, said in a press release. “He is a Fulbright scholar, an effective grant writer, and a lifelong academic with a Ph.D. in finance. He has Maine roots and a track record in international business.

“As important,” Fuller continued, “during his career he has been honored for excellence in teaching. He made an excellent impression on the Husson community and received the unanimous support of the Husson board. We are honored and pleased.”

Clark, a native of Albion, was one 150 applicants and one of three finalists for the job. The other finalists who visited the campus earlier this month were Jo Ann Rooney of Lexington, Ky., and Jeffery Mills of West Long Beach, N.J.

“I am humbled by my selection as Husson’s next leader,” Clark said Thursday. “Its distinguished history of service provides a unique opportunity for me to return to my home state of Maine to work to prepare students as tomorrow’s leaders. I believe that its focus on experiential learning outside of the classroom leads to an outstanding record of student success.”

In accepting the position, the new president praised his predecessor, who in 1987 took over what was then a small-business college.

“President Beardsley’s long and distinguished service to the institution has strengthened it and prepared it for the future,” Clark said. “I know that Husson has changed dramatically since my sister’s graduation in 1987. Now, I look forward to working collaboratively with the Husson community to envision and write the next chapters in the university’s story.”

The new president’s sister is Lynne Clark Estes of Hermon. She is a nurse at Eastern Maine Medical Center, according to her brother.

Clark earned his Ph.D. in finance with a minor in econometrics from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. He earned a master’s degree in business and an undergraduate degree in business and Spanish from the University of Maine.

He was a Fulbright scholar at the Norwegian School of Management and as a guest faculty member at the Business and Economics University in Vienna, Austria. Clark wrote and was awarded a five-year grant from the Lilly Endowment in 2003 to establish the Institute for Global Enterprise in Indiana, which he now directs.

“Bob Clark will be a great president for Husson,” Beardsley said. “He weds a sound grasp of higher education in Maine with a global touch. His exceptional grantsmanship with the Lilly Foundation and others is exemplary. Besides, Bob is a natural leader and a great guy. I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Located in southwest Indiana, the 155-year-old University of Evansville has a strong relationship with the United Methodist Church. Its student body numbers 2,647 students from 41 states and 48 countries, according to the school’s Web site.

Clark is married to Tricia McGarry Clark, a graduate of Bangor High School and a former elementary school music teacher in Bangor. She is now the music director at a United Methodist Church in Indiana. The couple has two daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth.