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Presidential Inauguration 2022

The strength of Clarke University is deeply rooted in its connectedness to the world around us. It is through this bond that the true impact of Clarke comes to life.

Inauguration logo 2022

We will celebrate the inauguration of Thom D. Chesney, Ph.D., as the 16th president of Clarke University in April of 2022. A week of festivities—from April 21-30—will honor and enhance the deeply rooted sense of community that is central to Clarke’s mission.

Join us to celebrate the Presidential Inauguration

Thursday, April 28, 2022

4 p.m. | Robert and Ruth Kehl Center

Reception immediately following in the Student Activity Center.

Chesney, Thom

Thom D. Chesney, Ph.D.

Clarke University’s 16th President

Dr. Thom D. Chesney was named the 16th president of Clarke University on Feb. 26, 2019. He was the unanimous choice of the Board of Trustees and assumed office on July 15, 2019, succeeding Joanne Burrows, SC, Ph.D.

An accomplished leader, educator, and community volunteer, Dr. Chesney came to Clarke from Brookhaven College, part of the Dallas (TX) Community College System. Dr. Chesney served as president of Brookhaven from 2011-2019. During his tenure as president, he worked to provide transformative educational programs, learning opportunities, and lifetime experiences to students. Among his accomplishments at Brookhaven are the stewardship of a strategic plan that drove increased student enrollment, retention, and graduation rates, as well as public/private partnerships, international engagement, faculty and staff development, and resources. In addition, he oversaw the creation of 19 early college high schools within the Dallas Independent School district over a period of two years and crafted degree-pathway agreements with more than 12 public and private institutions of higher education to provide Brookhaven students with ways to minimize credits taken and debt incurred.

presidential medallion

The Presidential Medallion

The Presidential Medallion is modeled after the Clarke College Shield. The shield was originally designed by Helen Kerrigan, BVM, artist in residence, and former registrar Mary Francine Gould, BVM.

The cross on the upper-left corner of the shield is a variation of a Celtic cross and represents the Irish and Christian heritage of the school.  The book in the upper-right corner symbolizes a dedication to academic excellence.  The waves in the lower-left corner of the shield represent the geographical location of Clarke on the Mississippi River. The symbol in the lower-right corner of the shield represents Clarke’s ties to the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs).

The University Mace

Knowledge, truth and love are the focal points of the Clarke College Mace. Reflecting a colorful history which can be traced back to the days of chivalry, the mace is the symbol of authority in contemporary academic processions.

Designed by Meinrad Burch of Zurich, Switzerland, the Clarke mace consists of a gold staff surmounted by a mother-of-pearl orb. Topping this orb is a gold disk with a cross composed of two Greek words, “light” and “life,” signifying Christ, the Light and Life of the world.

Radiating from the base of the staff are eight gold spokes, four of which feature embossed symbols of the ideals for which Clarke College stands. A lamp signifies truth, an owl typifies wisdom, two clasped hands suggest harmony of love and a cross identifies the religious character of the college.

The design for the mace was taken from an 8th- or 9th-century pyx.