Clark honored with 2018 Hendrick Award for service to adult learners

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Brian C. Clark, director for the office of veterans programs for Penn State Educational Equity, has been honored with the 2018 Shirley Hendrick Award, presented by the Penn State Commission for Adult Learners for service to adult learners.

The Shirley Hendrick Award recognizes an administrator University-wide who has contributed to the success of Penn State’s efforts to serve adult learners. The award is named in memory of Shirley Hendrick (1936–2000), the first recipient, dean for continuing education in the Smeal College of Business and inaugural chair of the Commission for Adult Learners, who advocated for continuing education.

Clark, who has served at Penn State since 1979, has led the Office of Veterans Programs for the past 39 years.

A veteran himself, Clark is committed to student academic achievement and has made significant contributions to the University, including improving graduation rates for veterans and adult learners. Colleagues said countless veterans can testify to his role in helping to shape their futures.

“Clark assesses the critical needs of our veteran students and adult learners and oversaw the transformation and expansion of the resources and services available to them,” a colleague said. “He ensures that each veteran student receives the proper certification of benefits to which they are entitled, and he has been described as a true advocate for all veterans-related issues. Additionally, veteran students and adult learners seek him out for his personal, financial and academic counseling.”

Clark’s contributions include:

● Building standing relationships with multiple units within the University, ensuring advocacy and points of contact for veteran and military students in nearly every situation in which they need assistance;

● Playing an integral role in the movement to secure availability of federal aid for veterans by removing GI Bill benefits from consideration as taxable income for federal-aid purposes and testifying on Capitol Hill in this regard; and

● Overseeing the development and implementation of a student veteran peer-mentoring program and a faculty-staff mentoring program for veteran students.

Penn State’s military appreciation efforts have expanded considerably in the past five years in part due to Clark’s efforts and are now the largest in the Big Ten, annually reaching more than 10,000 current service members, veterans and their families.

The award, which is administered by the Commission for Adult Learners, honors those who champion strategic initiatives to integrate best practices for adult learners, encourage innovative activities to foster and inspire a culture of collaboration, while improving access to adult learner programs and services, and  exemplifying the spirit and entrepreneurial visionary leadership in creating new opportunities for adult learners.

In the 1990s, Clark worked directly with Shirley Hendrick, the award’s namesake, as part of a task force looking at issues related to adult learners at Penn State. In 1998, he was among the charter members of the Commission for Adult Learners, under Hendrick’s leadership as inaugural chairperson. This year, the commission is celebrating its 20th year of advocacy for Penn State’s adult learners.

Last Updated April 03, 2018