Clements '54 to fund new professorship

by Charles Gardner | 10/22/03 5:00am

College President James Wright announced yesterday that Robert Clements '54 and the trustees of The Clements Foundation have pledged $2.5 million to the College for the creation of a professorship devoted to the study of problems facing democracies across the world.

Clements, chairman of the board at Arch Capital Group Ltd., said that the new Robert Clements Professor of Democracy and Politics will help foster discussion on challenges facing both American democracy and emerging democracies worldwide.

"American democracy is a model for other countries to emulate, but that model faces challenges at home," Clements said. "There's no longer a perfect equation between democracy and freedom."

Clements explained that democracy has become "increasingly subject to manipulation" as special interest groups seek to push "parochial agendas" that run counter to the public interest.

The endowment will be used to appoint a nationally- or internationally-renowned scholar with experience in issues surrounding democracy and democratic transition, while also having broader expertise in political science and in interest in philosophy, history, law or religion.

Paula Sager, daughter of Clements and executive director of the New England-based Clements Foundation, said that the new professor should be able to exert an influence extending well beyond the classroom.

"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 issue fundamental to a healthy democracy," she said.

Dean of the Faculty Michael Gazzaniga said that the issue of democratic transition is one "of great interest" to students in a range of disciplines. "We expect this professor to be a tremendous asset not only to our undergraduate and graduate students, but to the country."

Clements, a second-generation Dartmouth alumnus, has been chairman of the Bermuda- and U.S.-based insurance firm Arch Capital Group since 1995. He is also chairman emeritus of the board of overseers of the School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science of St. John's.