Concerned that American democracy faces a number of significant challenges, Robert Clements '54 and The Clements Foundation trustees have joined to commit $2.5 million to Dartmouth College to create the Robert Clements Professor of Democracy and Politics.
"American democracy is a model for other countries to emulate, but that model faces challenges at home," says Clements, chairman of the board of Arch Capital Group Ltd. "There's no longer a perfect equation between democracy and freedom. The real issue for Americans, and also the rest of the world, is freedom. Democracy historically has led the way to the achievement of this universal objective but has become increasingly subject to manipulation. Too often, special-interest groups take advantage of an open political system to press parochial agendas at the expense of the public interest."
Paula Sager, Clements's daughter and executive director of New England-based The Clements Foundation, says, "My family and I feel strongly that the most effective treatment of this issue begins with education. It's our hope in funding this chair that we can help bring to Dartmouth a professor who can engage not only students but also a wide national audience in issues fundamental to a healthy democracy. Since our father has long been passionate about this and has led our Foundation in discussions of the topic, the Clements trustees decided to endow the professorship in his name."
With the new endowment, Dartmouth will appoint to its faculty a nationally or an internationally renowned scholar who can foster public discussion on problems of democracy and democratic transition. In keeping with the College's longstanding emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, the faculty member will have broad expertise in political science and should bring an interest in philosophy, history, religion, or law.
"The causes and consequences of problems in democratic transition are of great interest to students of political science, philosophy, law, and related fields," observes Michael Gazzaniga '61, dean of the faculty. "We expect this professor to be a tremendous asset not only to our undergraduate and graduate students but to the country."
Clements is a second-generation Dartmouth alumnus, with strong family ties to the College. His father, John Clements, was a member of the class of 1929, and his uncle, J. Robert Chapman, a member of the class of 1931. Other family members who graduated from Dartmouth include his brother, David Clements '57, and sons John '83 and Ben '86.
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Last Updated: 5/30/08