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Parent Newsletter 

April 2010 

Parent Newsletter 




Graduation Goes Green

Graduates participating in this year's May Commencement exercises will be wearing attire from Jostens new Elements Collection. The collection's fabric fiber is made from wood sourced exclusively from renewable, managed forests and is developed using 100 percent acetate material.


Based on scientific research, the fabric is proven to decompose in soil in one year. In addition, the zipper tape and teeth are made from 100 percent recycled PET. The regalia also comes in earth-friendly packaging that facilitates the decomposition process of the cap and gown bag.

"Clarke is committed to sustainability and is pleased to work with Jostens on minimizing our environmental impact," said Clarke Provost Joan Lingen, BVM, Ph.D. "In addition to directly reducing the waste that often ends up in landfills, the use of this attire reinforces that being earth-friendly is possible in so many ways, big and small."

"Graduation is a major achievement in life and, together with our customers, we will celebrate this achievement while doing the right thing for the environment," said Tim Larson, Jostens president and CEO.

This year's Commencement exercises will held on May 8, 2010. The baccalaureate liturgy will begin at 10 a.m. in Clarke's Robert and Ruth Kehl Center, at which graduates will receive their academic hoods. At 2 p.m., the official Commencement ceremony begins, where graduates will receive their diplomas and special awards and honors will be bestowed.


If you or your family are unable to attend commencement, live streaming of the ceremony will be available May 8 on our web site at



Clarke Competition Exceeds Student's Expectation

When Molly Boucher began the "Collection Competition" on Clarke's campus, she hoped to collect 1,000 items that could be donated to organizations that serve Dubuque-area residents in need.

Throughout the month of March, teams of Clarke students, faculty and staff worked to collect canned goods, hygiene products, non-perishable items, diapers, wipes, paper towels and other supplies that could be donated to local non-profit agencies. The response was overwhelming and the goal far surpassed with over 2,100 items collected.

"The Clarke community is generous to responding when others are in need," said Clarke Director of Campus Ministry Amy Golm, BVM, who said the collected items will be donated to Maria House, Theresa Shelter, Hope House, St. Vincent de Paul and the Dubuque food pantry.

The idea of the Collection Competition came from Molly Boucher, a social work and psychology major from Dubuque, who attended the national "Resolve" conference in Chicago - an event designed to help fight against poverty in the United States. Funded by Clarke's campus ministry office, during her attendance at the conference, Boucher attended workshops and developed this project to help those who are less fortunate in the surrounding area.

"Food and shelter are two basic needs that everyone should have and there are people who don't have them." said Boucher. "At Clarke, we care. We want to see change and we want to see justice for everyone."




Parents Pick Up for Annual Phonathon

The Institutional Advancement Office would like to say thank you to the 179 parents that pledged nearly $12,800 to the Clarke College Annual Phonathon.

Each year alumni, parents and friends help offset the cost of a Clarke education by just over $5,800 per student. During the average student's time at Clarke, alumni, parents and friends have helped offset student costs by the equivalent of more than one year's worth of tuition!

Your support does make a difference. Your gifts enhance Clarke programming and offset tuition costs-enabling Clarke to provide your child or children an education with value that far exceeds the cost.

For those of you with students who served as callers for this year's phonathon program, please know they did a phenomenal job bringing in a record $205,000 in pledges. This year's total set a new record for the college-breaking our goal by $30,000 and breaking last year's record by more than $55,000.

Thank you once again for your direct support of Clarke students.




Clarke Receives Grant to Fund New Resources for Iowa Medical Community

George Towfic, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science at Clarke College, and his colleagues and collaborators are busy developing efficient tools to interrogate medical datasets. Through their current work with complex HIV data, they believe that data can speak - and that it can tell medical professionals how to use knowledge embedded in patients' medical datasets to analyze patients' responses to diseases and treatments.

Towfic, along with Judy Munshower, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics at Clarke, and Samira Towfic, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science, recently received a second grant from the Grow Iowa Values Fund in the amount of $84,721 to continue their work in developing a set of tools that can be used to improve treatment efficacy by implementing a sound medical ontology to enable knowledge embedded in stored electronic medical records to communicate with each other.

In recent years, the first grant allowed Clarke's research group to develop prototype mathematical models, expert systems and graphical tools to analyze patients' reactions to HIV treatments provided by clinicians in the State of Iowa and the State of Wisconsin. The group was also able to design and implement a Web portal that provides relevant queries and analysis results for clinicians and medical researchers.

Throughout the 2007 project, the research group worked with a number of project partners - Stanford University's medical informatics department, the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hospital and Clinics, as well as Harvard Medical School and John Viner, MD, a Dubuque-area leader in the area of HIV and infectious diseases.




Students Lend a Hand in New Orleans

Contributed by Heather Haas

Twenty-one Clarke students and staff and faculty members spent their spring break in New Orleans helping those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. The service group volunteered its time to help rebuild the home of Ruthie Lee Jones, whose house was damaged by the hurricane back in 2005. Amy Golm, director of Campus Ministry said "It was an outstanding trip," noting that it was also one of Clarke's largest service groups.


"This was my first mission trip and it was unbelievable," said Beth Neuhaus, junior elementary and special education major. "There was so much devastation still down there and we saw places that had still not yet been touched.  The trip changed my life and I have a new appreciation of what I have and how hard work can pay off."


The group spent the week in the seventh ward working on the exterior of Jones' home. After Katrina hit, she was forced to evacuate her home. Jones had told them there had always been a sense of security throughout the community amongst her neighbors, especially after Katrina.  Since she was evacuated after the hurricane Jones has not yet been able to return to her home. 


Clarke was contacted by Rebuilding Together New Orleans, a non-profit agency whose mission is to help with the recovery from Hurricane Katrina.  They have aided in renovating more than 100 homes in New Orleans.




Matt Zelle, 2001 Graduate 


While a student at Clarke, Matt worked at the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra - his first experience in arts management. Following his junior year, the career services office helped him land an internship that made his resume stand out in the crowd.


Originally from LeClaire, Iowa, Matt was one of 37 people from across the country selected as a summer intern for the internationally known John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. He worked in the Opera House Orchestra and Classical Music Division of the organization.



Today, Matt works as an associate manager for IMG Artists, LLC - a world leader in artist management - with some of the world's most well-known and accomplished classical performers. And, it all started at Clarke College.



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