Clark Carmean, Beloved Former Dean and Music Professor, Dies at 101
Dr. D. Clark Carmean H'85, who with his late wife, Edna, enthusiastically dedicated himself to generations of Lebanon Valley College students and was deeply loved in return, died peacefully in his sleep Sept. 14 at United Christian Church Home in North Annville. The dean of admission emeritus and former music professor was 101. He was highly regarded on campus for his generosity, wisdom, and kindness.
Carmean was born May 22, 1904 in Marysville, Ohio, the son of Donald and Hattie Carmean. His long association with the College began in 1933 when he became an instructor of music education and string instruments. He went on to serve as dean of men from 1935 to 1940 and as director of admissions from 1949 to 1973. Carmean, an Ohio Wesleyan graduate, received his master's degree in music education in 1932 from Columbia Teachers College in New York City.
Long after he retired from the College in the early '70s, Carmean was still sought after for his advice. Gregory Stanson, LVC's vice president for enrollment and student affairs, and a member of the class of 1963, called Carmean his mentor. "He was a very wise person. Clark personified all the values I grew up with at home. He was a great role model for generations of students."
"The College was really his life," said Robert E. Harnish, manager of the LVC bookstore. Harnish remembers that, even after they retired, Carmean and his wife, Edna, who died in 2001, would volunteer in the College's admission office, handwriting little notes to encourage students to come to LVC. Even in his extreme old age, Harnish said, caregivers at United Christian Church Home encouraged their staff and visitors to speak about the College to Carmean, because it made his eyes light up.
The Carmeans were well known for opening their home to students, whether is was as house parents in the 1930s in a men's dormitory, or later at their South Annville home, where they spent 50 years and avidly cultivated extensive gardens. Their home was a haven for many students, where they offered a warm fire and a cup of hot chocolate in the winter, and long conversations on the porch in the warmer months. Many nights the students gathered around the Carmean's grand piano to sing, and social gatherings often turned into impromptu concerts.
In an article in the Summer 1992 issue of The Valley magazine, published by the College, Edna Carmean recalled,
"Clark was teaching in the music department and sometimes he would bring a whole class out. We usually had the same menu—ham and string beans and potatoes, cooked in the fireplace in a big iron kettle." Most of the time, everybody would end up in the den, a converted summerhouse with a huge fireplace that took six-foot logs. Clark Carmean remembered in the same article, "We had a big copper coffeepot made. A huge coffeepot, held 55 cups. We put that on a crane in the fireplace. It would swing out, and the kids would pour themselves a cup, then swing it back over the fire again. They loved it because they could help themselves."
To provide for the College community they were devoted to, the couple, who had no children of their own, became members of the College's Laureate Society, which includes those who have given in excess of $1 million to the College. The Carmeans also donated Cuewe-Pehelle, the larger-than-life bronze statue of an Algonquin Indian woman in front of Garber Science Center. New York sculptor Audrey Flack created the statue with outstretched arms to represent the welcoming spirit of the Lebanon Valley. The plaza that surrounds the sculpture was named in the couple's honor.
As honorary co-chairs of Lebanon Valley College's TOWARD 2001 campaign, the Carmeans assisted in a major fundraising venture, which exceeded its goal to raise over $23.9 million. In 1977, the couple's love of music led them to endow the Carmean Distinguished Chair in Music and in 1982 to establish the Carmean String Ensemble Scholarship.
Carmean served 12 years on the Annville school board in the 1950s and 1960s, and oversaw the building of Annville-Cleona High School. He also taught Sunday school at Annville United Methodist Church and, along with his wife, volunteered at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon. Carmean received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the College in 1985. His wife was a long-time staff assistant in various departments, including music, admissions, public relations, and the president's office. She also served as a writer/editor for Alumni Review, as executive secretary for the College's Centennial celebration, and was the College historian.
Kreamer Funeral Home in Annville is in charge of arrangements. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.