Clark University

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Background

Clark University, in Worcester, Massachusetts in the United States, is a private teaching and research institution founded in 1887. Clark is one of only three New England universities, with Harvard and Yale, to be a founding member of the Association of American Universities. Clark withdrew membership from the Association of American Universities in the late 1990s.

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Jonas Clark Hall, Clark University

Clark's first president was G. Stanley Hall, founder of the American Psychological Association, who earned the first Ph.D. in psychology in this country at Harvard. Clark has played a prominent role in the development of psychology as a distinguished discipline in the United States. Clark was the location for Sigmund Freud's famous "Clark Lectures" in 1909, introducing psychoanalysis to this country. Franz Boas, founder of American cultural anthropology, taught briefly at Clark between 1888 and 1892 before resigning (in a dispute with Hall over academic freedom) and moving to Columbia University. Clark was also associated, in the 1920's, with Robert Goddard, a pioneer of rocketry, considered one of the founders of space and missile technology.

In recent years, Clark has been noted especially for its geography and psychology departments, with the latter having a distinctive, if increasingly unfashionable "humanistic" orientation (humanistic psychology). Clark's geography department is best known for its strength in human-environment geography and for the development of the Idrisi geographic information systems software. It has consistently been ranked in the top 10 in the nation.

Located in an industrial, residential neighborhood ("Main South") of the New England mill town of Worcester, Clark benefited for many years from the patronage of the wealthy factory owner families in the town, who saw the numerous colleges in their city as a cultural endowment that might lift the factory-working population of the city to a more sophisticated level.

Clark has flourished, marketing its programs off campus and accepting a student body largely from out of the city and often from out of the state. Its graduate programs recruit students worldwide. Clark has developed a reputation as a free-thinking institution, where critical debate flourishes. It mission is ambitious, "is to educate undergraduate and graduate students to be imaginative and contributing citizens of the world, and to advance the frontiers of knowledge and understanding through rigorous scholarship and creative effort."

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