For SIU’s new business dean from across the pond, Carbondale is home


Steve Buhman, University Photoco

Terry Clark. (Provided photo by Steve Buhman, SIU photographer)

By Brey Mong Delane

SIU’s new business dean’s relationship with southern Illinois can be traced back decades to a strange set of circumstances involving London, musicians and a beautiful woman.

Terry Clark, of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, who was appointed dean of the College of Business on July 14, said his connection to southern Illinois started long before he first stepped foot in Carbondale as a student in 1972. 

“When the train pulled in I remember thick snow, seeing the glove factory and seeing the sign for Carbondale for the first time,” Clark said. “Little did I know, it would be the beginning of a lifetime relationship with Carbondale, southern Illinois and SIU.”


Before Clark moved to the U.S., he spent time as a street musician to help pay rent after he was laid off from a construction job in England.

“[My friends and I] saw World War II veterans playing the accordion on the street, so we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if young people went out and were doing ‘The Beatles’ or ‘Rolling Stones’ and ‘Bob Dylan’ songs?’” Clark said.

Their first go-around — with Clark on guitar and harmonica — was a success, so the next day they decided to play at a tube station, or the subway, in the heart of London.

“I looked one way and I saw this long blonde-haired girl in a green dress,” he said. “She comes by once, twice and a third time, she [stopped] and asked can she join in. And we said yes. And she can really sing.”

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Clark said though he and his friends made plans to meet up with this unnamed woman the next day, they ended up sleeping in and forgetting to meet with the girl.

But one of the men with him, from a town about 20 miles north of Carbondale called Du Quoin, ended up running into her later in the day.


“She had only been in London a few days and she wrote a letter to her mother saying, ‘Mom, I’ve met the man I’m going to marry and I don’t know his name,” Clark said of the woman he eventually married.

“That was me,” he said with a smile.

Clark and his wife, Marion, have since moved to southern Illinois and have been married for 44 years.

“She raised seven crazy, interesting kids,” he said of his wife. “And believe me it’s a full-time job.”

But she wasn’t the only love he has had since he stepped off that train nearly 45 years ago.

“I came down here and I loved it,” he said. “I instantly I fell in love with Carbondale and SIU. It wasn’t like rational or logical, it was just ‘boom.’ I just knew I loved it.”

Clark went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in aviation technology and master’s in business administration from SIU before receiving a doctorate in marketing at Texas A&M University in 1982. 

In 1999, he returned to SIU to work as a marketing professor and later served as chair of the marketing department for 10 years.

But business isn’t the only area Clark has experience.

“I’ve had a lot of exotic jobs, I worked on the towboats, I was a deckhand and a second mate on the Mississippi,” said Clark, who also worked at the Carter Center, a public policy center founded by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn.

Clark also created commercials for Barking Dawg Productions to “craft the way outsiders see the campus, as to opposed to previous ads comparing SIUC to other universities,” he said.

“My colleague who is retired now, had this idea of if you compare us to other universities, it would seem that they have us beat on every point,” he said. “But … if you look at our unique geography and you look at the contrast of the things you can do here, it allows us to tell a story.”

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Now Clark is shaping the next chapter of SIU’s story, hoping to focus on expanding the business college’s online program.

In addition, Clark said he wants to open a student/faculty lounge to continue strengthening the university’s social environment.

“[SIU] taught me an appreciation for community, for belonging,” he said. “All human beings crave roots and to belong somewhere. And the funny thing, when I stepped off the train that snowy night, I instantly felt like I belonged.”

Staff writer Brey Mong Delane can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @BreyMong_DE.

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