LAWRENCE, Kan. (July 8, 2021) – Robert “Bob” Clark, former vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Edwards Campus, passed on July 4, 2021. A longtime and active member of the Kansas City and higher education communities, Clark was 69 years old and residing in New York.
Among his many roles and accomplishments, Clark served as the leader of the Edwards Campus located in Overland Park, Kansas, from 1997 to 2013. During this time, the campus grew from one to four buildings, greatly expanded the academic programming it offered and realized robust enrollment, resulting in the campus having an economic impact of more than $650 million on Greater Kansas City as of 2013.
"Bob truly loved higher education, and it was so much of his life beyond just his career,” said Rae Nicholson, Clark’s stepdaughter. “He always enjoyed teaching. He knew the value that higher education could bring to someone's life, and he encouraged everyone to pursue their education – from his family to random folks we'd meet out and about.”
Clark was instrumental in helping community leaders pass the Johnson County , providing financial support to the University of Kansas, University of Kansas Medical Center and Kansas State University. On the Edwards Campus, these funds support degree programs, scholarships and educational facilities for business, engineering, science and technology programs.
“Bob oversaw the KU Edwards Campus from its adolescent years into its maturity,” said Dave Cook, KU vice chancellor of public affairs and the former vice chancellor of the Edwards Campus, succeeding Clark. “He applied daily his passions for higher education and Kansas City through his work at KU, as well as his other roles. His legacy is truly lasting with the Edwards Campus and the hundreds of people it graduates each year. He will be missed.”
Clark also taught leadership and strategy courses to graduate students in the MBA, marketing communications and public administration programs.
"Bob loved teaching, and he especially enjoyed being in the classroom with KU Edwards Campus students, and his students always praised him,” said Elaine Warren who worked with Clark for 13 years as the director of marketing and public relations for the Edwards Campus. “He was a leader for KU in developing a strategy and curriculum to best serve adult learners. Bob was proud of the Edwards Campus and its role in serving the workforce of Johnson County and Greater Kansas City. He was committed to always developing new partnerships, programs and initiatives to grow its presence and serve more students.”
A graduate of Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management, Clark also holds a Ph.D. from Syracuse University with an emphasis in strategic planning, a master's degree from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Science from Arizona State University. He served on several community boards including the Overland Park Chamber, United Community Services of Johnson County and Midwest Research Institute. Prior to KU, Clark was the dean of the School of Management at Rockhurst University in Kansas City.
"I've reached out to many of his former colleagues in the last few days to tell them of his passing, and they all talk about what a dear friend he was, how he gave many of them their first break into higher education, and how he inspired them to pursue their careers,” said Nicholson.
You can see more about Robert Clark’s life and remembrances here.