John L. Clarke

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John L. Clarke was an educator and former president of Ricks College. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Clarke was born on May 14, 1905, and reared on a farm in American Fork, Utah. He served as a missionary to Great Britain and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University. His early career was spent teaching in a variety of Utah and Wyoming high schools. In 1939, he became the director of the Institute of Religion at Gila College in Thatcher, Arizona. He then served as the Institute director at Dixie College in St. George, Utah.

In 1944, Clarke was named president of Ricks College and served for 27 years, the longest of any Ricks president. During his tenure, he expanded the college curriculum and the college grew from 80 acres to over 250, and grew from 2 buildings to 18. Enrollment grew from 200 to 5,000. Also during his administration, the college changed from a two-year institution to a four-year, but seven years later switched back to a two-year college.

Clarke married Fay Christensen in 1931 and they were the parents of three children. She passed away in 1970. Clarke married LaRae King, who was widowed with four children. In 1971, when he retired, she served with him as he presided over the New England Mission, headquartered in Boston. He was later called as a stake patriarch. He passed away on February 20, 1991.

The John L. Clarke Building on the BYU-Idaho campus is named in his honor.