Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends gathered on December 12 to dedicate the Clara Mae Clem Lounge at the School of Education facilities on the University of Redlands main campus.
The afternoon’s guest of honor was Clara Mae Clem ’48, whose philanthropic support of her alma mater made these significant capital improvements possible. The planned renovations for the School will be taking place in several phases; this first stage was been made possible by Clem’s generosity.
“We sincerely thank Clara for her lifelong commitment to the University,” said President Ralph W. Kuncl. “Throughout her career and many commitments, she has stayed connected with us through her support and service. She exemplifies what it means to be a Bulldog for Life.”
Alongside Kuncl, Naslund Endowed Dean Andrew Wall, and Vice President for Advancement Tamara Josserand, Clem led the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which officially dedicated the renovated 3,900 sq. ft. lounge, administrative office suite, and digitally enhanced classroom.
“Clara has helped to create a space where students want to be,” said Wall, who, along with Kuncl and Advancement leadership, has been part of ongoing conversations with Clem about the project over the past five years. “Her gift is both a statement of faith and a statement of quality for the School of Education.”
During the luncheon that followed, Conroy Reynolds, chair of the Department of Counseling and Human Services, and Alayne Sullivan, chair of the Department of Learning and Teaching, also shared reflections about the impact of Clem’s philanthropy. “This amazing gift has made such a difference,” said Reynolds. “It gives us a renewed sense that we are moving forward for our students.”
A leadership donor within the University’s Forever Yours campaign, Clem was delighted to see the results of her investment firsthand. “It was something that was really needed,” she observed. “I was overwhelmed when I saw everything, and pleased how nicely it worked out. I am proud to know that this space will be here for a long time and fill a void for our education students.”
A plaque installed in the space reads:
A lifelong advocate for teaching and service, Clara Mae Clem, Class of 1948, graduated from the University of Redlands with a degree in education. She taught at McKinley Elementary School in Redlands for nearly 40 years, touching the lives of thousands of young students. Additionally, Clara managed her family’s import gift shop, continuing her family’s tradition of entrepreneurship, as well as numerous business interests around the country.
Clara has dedicated herself to serving her local and regional community. At her alma mater, she served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, Pacesetters Fundraising Committee, and Redlands Admissions Assistance Program, helping to recruit the best and brightest students. The University honored Clara with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
This space is named in recognition of Clara’s generous contributions to our School of Education, her inspiration of future teachers, and her collective impact on the lives of our graduates and their future students for generations to come.