By: Steven Reipe
“The 50’s and 60’s were really important years for athletic programs. We had some really outstanding athletes and teams,” Vice President of Student Affairs Bill Belden said. “It’s important to recognize people while they’re still here.”
To display Clark’s history, the Athletics department installed a Wall of Fame on the ground floor of the O’Connell Sports Center. Director of Athletics Chris Jacob said the wall, which displays info from the Clark Athletics Hall of Fame webpage on a 36-inch TV screen, was unveiled Nov. 2 at a Savoring Excellence Gala Banquet for faculty.
“It’s nice we can show off a little bit of our history right when you walk into OSC,” Jacob said.
According to Clark’s webpage, the Hall of Fame was founded in 2011.
The wall features an in-depth bio for every athlete inducted into the Hall of Fame since it began, including the year they graduated and their athletic accomplishments at Clark. Assistant Athletic Director Laura LeMasters said anyone involved in athletics at Clark can be nominated for the hall, and a committee of alumni, community members and faculty discuss their qualifications.
Belden said once the committee finishes reviewing the nominees, Clark College President Bob Knight makes the final decision. LeMasters said the department chose a digital exhibit for the wall so it could be updated annually with new inductees.
The next Hall of Fame class will be inducted in a ceremony on Feb. 17. Soon after, the Wall of Fame will be updated accordingly.
“I’m very excited for this class being inducted.” Jacob said. “They are truly a perfect representation of what a Clark penguin student athlete is.”
The Penguin Athletic Club first introduced the idea for a tangible rendition of the hall shortly after its founding.
Belden said he facilitated in bringing the vision to life after he proposed the idea with former Athletic Director Charles Guthrie and a few key community members.
The main obstacle, he said, was determining where to set up the wall. When the student body voted to build a recreation center a few years ago, Belden and his team hesitated to place the wall in case it ended up among the construction. Belden said they eventually settled on OSC since it made the most sense.
Jacob, LeMasters and Belden said it was worth the five year delay to see the project come to fruition.
“It’s very important, in my mind, that student athletes know the history about Clark,” Jacob said. “Back then, student athletes used to represent us.”