UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Clark Taylor Goes Out In Style

Retiring College of Public and Community Service (CPCS) professor Clark Taylor won’t likely forget November 28, 2001 – and neither will UMass Boston – thanks to a contribution from Taylor’s son Jeff, who helped establish a new, permanent information technology center on campus in honor of his father’s achievements.

At an afternoon ceremony honoring Professor Taylor for his twenty-nine and one half years of service to the University, the younger Taylor, the CEO and founder of Monster.com, presented $100,000 to CPCS for the purpose of establishing the Clark Taylor Information Technology Center. According to a CPCS spokesperson, “The Center will extend participatory educational and technical assistance opportunities to students in the College of Public and Community Service, many of whom have had limited access to computer-assisted learning in the past. The Clark Taylor Information Technology Center will provide skills education and tutoring support for both student and community partners.”

Jeff Taylor explained, “I think I was looking for something I could do in the name of UMass and my father. The gift was a way to kind of bridge the generations. My father was an early adaptor of technology and his love of technology became a subtle osmosis between parent and kids that affected me.”

CPCS Professor Reebee Garofalo, a long-time colleague of Clark Taylor, said, “We see the technology center as a piece of a larger vision that includes a really innovative university and community partnership that will place the use of state-of-the-art tools in the hands of CPCS students, as well are community partners and enable us to do regional information sharing and multi-site distance learning.”

An additional $50,000 was contributed by TMP worldwide – the parent company of Monster.com. The additional funds are earmarked to “assist CPCS in its goal to become a leader in developmental programs with other countries.” Members of the College have special access to educational and university leaders in two countries, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, and the second gift from TMP Worldwide will extend the reach of the College’s programs internationally.

“Jeff has been a benefactor before,” said UMass President William Bulger, who attended the events honoring the elder Taylor. “He’s a generous person who appreciates the great things that go on here.”

Joining Bulger in honoring Professor Taylor were a host of UMB administrators, colleagues from CPCS, present and former students and members of his church.

“He cared back in 1972 and never stopped caring. It’s easy when your young and green to be dedicated and conscientious. To be still caring 29 years later is a tribute,” Chancellor Gora told a standing room only crowd in the Chancellor’s Conference Room at Clark’s “commencement” celebration.

Clark Taylor’s “life at CPCS” was rich and varied. In July of 1972, in a hotel room at the old Statler Hilton Hotel, he was a founding faculty member of CPCS. He was an organizer of the Community Planning Center in 1973 and served as acting dean of CPCS from August of 1978 until February 1979. After that he served as chair of the General Education Center for several years. He was also chair of the CPCS Policy Board foe a number of years and was co-associate dean for Academic affairs during the 1999-2000 academic year.

Taylor was instrumental in molding the mission of CPCS up until his last days at college. He has been the chair of the CPCS Curriculum Council (Academic Affairs Committee) since September of 2000, a group charged with structuring a complete revision of the college’s curriculum. His concern for Social Justice has also never waivered. He’s currently the chair of the Umass Boston Human Rights Working Group, qroup working towards founding a Human Rights Center at UMB.

“CPCS: An Unconventional Flower in A Weedy Wonderful Urban World” was the title of talk given by Taylor at the afternoon ceremony. In it he fondly recalled the history of CPCS, talked about the college’s present status, and shared his hopes for the future. “I never lost my enthusiasm for CPCS. It may have waivered at times, but I never lost it,” he remarked.

Talking about his most recent challenge, the CPCS curriculum revision, he stated, “Remaking the curriculum is the academic equivalent of a town moving its cemetery.”

Taylor concluded his speech by looking to the future of CPCS, focusing on new majors, programs, and technological advances that the college has designed to attract new students, he explained that he hopes CPCS will become a national model for other universities hoping to implement similar programs. One way that he sees the college doing this is by becoming a “university without walls,” which will be achieved partially through upcoming distance education programs with Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Finally Taylor remarked, “CPCS has so much to be proud of. It is an unconventional flower, an attractive, even beautiful flower in this weedy, urban world.” Several of Taylor’s past and present students remarked on their experiences at CPCS as testament to the remarkable influence Taylor has had at UMB. Ernest Best, a graduate of CPCS, described the college as “one of the few innovations in academia that deals with real world problems,” and stated, “Dr. Taylor’s work today is as relevant as it was when he began.” Best, who is now the first African American to direct an adult literacy organization in Massachusetts, went on to explain that the education he received at CPCS “gave him the tools to become a change agent,” and concluded that in this way, Taylor’s work has “literally touched thousands.”

Several other CPCS graduates and students echoed Best’s praise of Taylor. Alice Carter, a graduate, summed up her experience as “fun and life changing,” and Marion Conway, a 1989 graduate who is now a protective service worker, said that as a result of studying at CPCS, her “world has become a larger place.” Mary Roman, who described how after returning to university fearful and anxious after many years out of school, illustrated how far reaching Taylor’s impact has been when she stated that she has taken her work to South Africa.

UMass president William Bulger tied up the ceremony, echoing Taylor’s and his students’ frequent references to Paulo Freire’s book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and stating, “today was really worth stopping for.”