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Skidmore College

Clarke chair in art history endowed with $2 million gift

October 8, 2018

The family of Charlotte Lamson Clarke ’53, who died in 2016, has given a $2 million gift to establish in her memory Skidmore College’s first endowed chair in art history.  

Husband Tom Clarke’s gift to the College reflects Charlotte Lamson Clarke’s passion for art and history, especially British history. “I did it for Charlotte,” he said. 

Charlotte Lamson Clarke ’53 pictured with husband Tom.
Charlotte Lamson Clarke ’53 pictured with husband Tom.

An English major at Skidmore, Charlotte Lamson Clarke was an avid volunteer and docent for many arts organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution and the New Britain (Connecticut) Museum of American Art, where she served as a volunteer for about 15 years. She and Tom traveled extensively to Europe, where Charlotte enjoyed many visits to art museums.

The Charlotte Lamson Clarke ’53 Chair in Art History will recognize excellence among the Skidmore faculty in art history and promote understanding and appreciation of art among Skidmore students. The first Clarke chair will be named in the 2019-2020 academic year.

“This generous gift reflects Charlotte Lamson Clarke’s lifelong dedication to the College. Tom’s generosity also ensures that Charlotte’s love of art and history will continue to inspire future generations of art historians and students at Skidmore,” Skidmore President Philip A. Glotzbach said. “Skidmore is very grateful that Tom Clarke has chosen to remember Charlotte in this way.”

Charlotte Clarke remained an active Skidmore alumna and attended many Skidmore events, including regional events in Florida, scholarship dinners and her 50th reunion in 2003. She donated generously to the College during her lifetime.

“This gift recognizes Skidmore’s longstanding tradition of excellence in the field of art history,” said Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Orr. “This gift will ensure that generations of students will have the opportunity to engage in the critical study of images, artifacts and works of architecture, thereby developing a life-long appreciation of art. As an art historian myself, I am particularly pleased that Tom’s generosity will support the art history department in this way.” 

Recipients will be selected from current Skidmore art history faculty or recruited from outside the College. Appointments will run five years.

 “While the majority of the gift to establish the Clarke Chair came from Tom’s donor-advised fund, a portion of the total endowment also came from a charitable trust established 30 years ago by Charlotte’s parents, John and Lesa Lamson,” said Andy Campbell, Skidmore’s director of gift planning. “We are so deeply grateful to the Lamson and Clarke families for their generosity and foresight in supporting Skidmore’s enduring educational mission.”

Charlotte Clarke grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts, where she graduated from the Bancroft School. The couple also lived in Montclair, New Jersey, and in Avon and Farmington, Connecticut, before moving to Naples, Florida, upon Tom’s retirement from Stanley Black & Decker as vice president of corporate development and strategic planning.

Charlotte was also active in the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America.

In 1975, she was co-author of the illustrated book “All About Doll Houses,” which contained miniature period rooms, the furnishings of which she created.

In addition to her husband, Tom, Charlotte Lamson Clarke is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Pamela and Larry Hicks of Marco Island, Florida.

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