from The Bridge: Fall 2012/Winter 2013 issue
"Washington and Lee has been an important part of our family's life over three generations. It is hard for us to think of our family and not think about the benefits of our W&L educations," says Hal Clarke '73, '76L. His father, Hal Clarke Sr. '38L, attended the Law School. "Fortunately for me, my wife, Nan '76L, chose W&L Law," he continues. "Two of our four children, Charlie Clarke '05 and Robbie Clarke '06, '11L, are also graduates."
The couple earmarked their campaign giving for the Law School Annual Fund and for the renovations to the Law School build- ing because "we met across a library table in Tucker Hall," the former home of the Law School, recalls Nan. Their class was the second class to have women, who made up only about 10 percent of the class.
"I feel very fortunate to have met Nan, fallen in love and gotten married, given the odds," says Hal.
"Our whole law class is very close. It was a wonderful big group, and we have very strong friendships with our classmates," Nan adds.
"We all value the W&L approach to education. Not only did we receive an excellent education in a beautiful setting from outstanding and approachable professors, we also learned from role models and from community expectations the importance of personal and community integrity, honor, civility and openness to and respect for others' points of view," Hal explains. "These values make W&L not only a special place to be a part of but a role model in higher education.
"W&L has also been a leader in legal education. The University has an excellent and respected law school that is a leader in the reform of law school curricula. W&L is in the vanguard of those law schools adopting changes to make sure that a legal education continues to be valuable and relevant to its graduates," continues Hal. "W&L has led the reform of the third-year program. The Law School's innovative approach provides law students great opportunities in practical simulations to develop critical skills beyond legal reasoning and analysis in a classroom setting and to transition with more confidence and ability into the practice of law."
Son Robbie worked in the Law School's Black Lung Clinic, which will benefit from the planned upgrades to the facility. "Robbie's experience in representing a client under the guidance of an excellent professor and practitioner was a very important part of his education during his third year," Hal says. "Contributing to the building additions that will support the Third-Year Program allows us to support W&L's leadership role in legal education."
"We all have a strong, ongoing connection to a place that is so important to our whole family," says Nan. The couple is involved in various alumni activities. Nan has served as a member of the Alumni Board and currently serves as a board member of the George Washington Society. Hal has been a member of the Law Council and is president of the council this year. The couple serve as class agents for their law class. Son Charlie is the Charlotte Alumni Chapter president. Hal's father also served in alumni roles and as a trustee.
"We like to say that we bleed blue and white," says Nan. "We just have a huge personal connection to the University, and our gift shows the value we ascribe to how W&L goes about its mission."