News and Events


Our Alumni Impact

 Clarke puts alumni impact on display


“Clarke offers students a global perspective which reminds us to find a cause bigger than ourselves to give to, and gives you the opportunity to create amazing memories that you'll cherish.” 

Major/Grad Year: Business, 2002
Title of Current Position: Senior Financial Advisor
Employer: Larson Financial Group
City/State: Chicago, Ill.

Jake works exclusively with physicians in the Chicago market. He mentors other advisors in different markets (i.e. Iowa, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh) and has clients in 25 states. He serves clients in the following areas: retirement planning, investment management, asset protection, estate planning, contract negotiation, risk management, debt management, buying a practice, selling a practice, employee benefits. His job has offered him a great lifestyle. He sets his own schedule, and he and his wife travel often both nationally and internationally.

 How did Clarke prepare you for your current career?   
Clarke taught me that I wasn’t going to be handed anything. I had to earn all of it. Clarke taught me the basics of business. I was able to have success at Clarke and was able to use that as a benchmark. At challenging times during my professional career, I would look back to times I was challenged at Clarke and succeeded. I used that at motivation which gave me confidence to succeed in whatever I was doing professionally.

What would you tell a potential student about Clarke? 

If you choose Clarke you won’t get: 1.) access to a major football team; 2.) a huge campus; 3.) Clarke listed in the ‘Top 5 party schools nationally.’

If you choose Clarke, here’s what you’ll get: 1.) you’ll be known on an individual level by faculty and the student body; 2.) you’ll have the opportunity to find authentic relationships; 3.) you can pursue Christ if you want to. There are outlets for that if you want them; 4.) you will have the opportunity to work hard and to receive the education you desire. It isn’t Clarke’s job to give you academic success. It is up to you to earn; 5.) you’ll have the opportunity create amazing memories that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life; and 6.) you’ll have a place to come back to where you feel at-home and loved.


“A classmate in my study abroad program in Japan told me that travel does something to you. It can't quite be put in words, but I came back from Japan with the knowledge that I was a global citizen. Not just an American.”

Major/Grad Year: Graphic Design, 2010
Title of Current Position: Graphic Designer
Employer: The Advisory Board Company
City/State: Washington, D.C.


A large portion of Nate’s job is pitching ideas to art directors and clients. If he can communicate effectively than it is more likely that he will be allowed to do his “weird” idea. Often times effective communication means making mockups, but of course mockups still get shot down. When this happens he said he tries to remember what a co-worker told him: “Exploration is never wasted time."

How did Clarke prepare you for your current career? 
I have the nuts and bolts design and software skills necessary to be employable. But more than that I gained a love of learning and sense of curiosity. At Clarke I was exposed to ideas that I probably would not have come to on my own.

What would you tell a potential student about Clarke?
In four years I saw the whole university step up its game. And now I hear the design department is getting new digs complete with a 3D printer! I mean come one, game over! But also the close and personal interaction with faculty proved invaluable and I cherish those relationships to this day.


“My liberal arts degree enlarged my critical and analytical thinking, preparing me to accept challenges and a 360 degree view of this diverse and exciting world.”

Major/Grad Year: Sociology, 1970
Title of Current Position: Executive Director
Employer: Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois
City/State: Springfield, Ill.

Billie’s position entails anything from producing legislation, to oversight of boards and multidisciplinary teams, technology assistance and training. The 38 Children’s Advocacy Centers in Illinois last year saw over 10,000 children. In 2013, Billie was appointed by the Governor’s office to the Committee on Children and Family in Illinois 2013.
What would you tell a potential student about Clarke?
I would say “Go and make the best you can of your time at this rich environment of learning. Reach out, challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone, try, perhaps fail and then try again and with those tries some wonderful learning and successes will occur.
Why did you enroll at Clarke? 
Well a funny story. My mom and dad said very simply… “I can go to college anywhere I want, as long as it was Clarke!”

“The community I experienced at Clarke influenced my decision to have a career in Catholic education and to ensure that I worked to build similar community in the schools in which I have worked.”

 Major/Grad Year: English, 1983 
Graduate degree: Master’s in Educational Administration, University of Iowa  
Title of Current Position: Chief Administrator 
Employer: Holy Family Catholic Schools 
City/State: Dubuque, IA 

Her responsibilities include overseeing the entire education program – early childhood through 12th grade - for Holy Family Catholic Schools, from mission to curriculum to co-curricular activities in addition to promoting the system and serving as a development officer. She has also served as principal at Beckman Catholic Junior-Senior High School in Dyersville, Iowa, for two years, then as president of the Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City
How did Clarke prepare you for your current career?  
Simply put, my Clarke experience gave me the confidence to pursue leadership roles in my career. Whether it was on the basketball court or in campus ministry or student government, I had multiple opportunities to be a leader and to make a difference. I was surrounded by positive role models, both faculty and fellow students, who challenged me to succeed, supported me when I didn’t and celebrated with me when I met their high expectations.
What would you tell a potential student about Clarke?
I would tell a potential student that Clarke is a terrific place to prepare him or her for a lifetime of success. Its size offers opportunities to be involved, to lead and to be known as an individual. Its programming and commitment to rigorous, practical education virtually guarantees career success. Its anchor in the Catholic faith provides a comforting stability. Finally, students feel at home at Clarke.

“We have hundreds of customers, millions of users, and operate out of data centers around the world.  The role is global which also gives me the opportunity to travel to destinations such as India, Australia, Singapore and Europe.”

Major/Grad Year: Computer Science, 1977
Title of Current Position: Vice President, Risk Management, Managed Cloud Services
Employer: Oracle
City/State: Denver, Colo.

Gail oversees business risk, IT security, compliance and privacy for Oracle’s Managed Cloud Services. She says after 16 years in her position, she still loves what she is doing and enjoys the challenge of the rapid changes in technology.
How did Clarke prepare you for your current career?
Clarke helped me understand how computers work – it doesn’t matter how technology advances, because the fundamentals are the same. I can always look at new advancements and break it down to the basic components.
What would you tell a potential student about Clarke?
The programs at Clarke are “top notch” and because the school is smaller, you have personal attention from your teachers and the opportunity to really learn. Your first priority in college should always be your studies – you want the foundation of a solid education and you will get that at Clarke. You will also have these few years to grow as a person. My own sense of personal integrity, honesty and compassion for others was nurtured at Clarke and I am who I am today because of the years I spent there. 


“The magic of a liberal arts education—of Clarke—is that it teaches creativity, open-mindedness, resourcefulness. I have traveled to over 85 countries and truly seen that the sky is the limit.”

Major/Grad Year: Communications, 1995, Marketing, 1998
Graduate Degree: MBA, Lynn University
Title of Current Position: Founder of JCT4Education; Higher Education consultant 
Employer: JCT4Education 
City/State: Boca Raton, Fla.

As a student at Clarke, Juan Camilo proposed a new curriculum to enhance the English as a Second Language program to then-president Sister Catherine Dunn. He then created a business plan for this program and presented it to Clarke administrators. It was so well-received that in 1995 he was hired as the school’s International Admission coordinator. He recruited students in Latin America and Asia.

How did Clarke prepare you for your current career?  
Clarke’s rigorous academic curriculum and open-minded campus gave me the tools to achieve whatever goal I set for myself. The sisters, faculty and staff at Clarke are amazing. Sister Mary Francis’s notion that the freedom of getting to America from Ireland gave her the ability to conquer anything in her field impacted me deeply. That is, with that same fortitude, I was prepared for all future endeavors.
What would you tell a potential student about Clarke?
Clarke is magical. It is where inspiration meets talent and vice versa. Clarke’s education has prepared for me to have incredible opportunities and experiences in higher education. Working and studying at Clarke paved the way for me to become director of Admissions at Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida and found my own higher education consulting organization. 


“I decided that instead of becoming an M.D. and treating people with diseases, I wanted to be the one to discover new treatments.”

Major/Grad Year: Biology, Biochemistry, 2008
Graduate Degree: Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Iowa
Current Position: Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Employer: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
City/State: Memphis, Tenn.
Angela is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where she is studying a specific signaling cascade found to be over active in tumor tissue. The goal of this project is to explore the basic biology of this signaling pathway to identify key players that can be targeted pharmaceutically to improve specific cancer treatments.
How did Clarke prepare you for your current career?  
The faulty in both the biology and chemistry department trained me to be a good scientist through both my lecture and laboratory courses. When I went to the University of Iowa for my internship between my junior and senior year the laboratory members commented on what good laboratory skills I already possessed; which I attribute to the exceptional training I received in my lab courses.
What would you tell a potential student about Clarke?
The friendliness of the people, the sense of community, and the faculty’s attentiveness have been unmatched anywhere else I have gone before or after my time at Clarke. Clarke is a great place to be; the faculty members really care about you and want you to succeed. Attending Clarke is one of the best decisions I have made in my life, and I truly believe I would not be where I am today had I not chosen Clarke.


 KATHRYN RIST ELYKatheryn Rist Ely   
“In the 1960s, few women were pursuing science careers. My experiences at Clarke gave me the confidence to reach for a degree in crystallography, a biophysics discipline that was heavily dominated by men at that time.”

Major/Grad Year: Biology, 1966
Graduate degree: Ph. D. in Protein Crystallography, University of Utah
Title of Current Position: Founder and Executive Director
Employer: Quench and Connect
City/State: San Diego, Calif.
Kathryn’s mission for Quench and Connect is to connect with schools in Uganda, and to improve student achievement by providing clean water and educational tools for success. She has also done groundbreaking work in the field of structural biology, which has set the framework to understand key biochemical processes and basic mechanisms in human health, including immunity, cancer and neurodegeneration.
How did Clarke prepare you for your current career?  
As a freshman, I intended to major in French. But first year courses in biology and chemistry got me interested in science instead. Undergraduate research projects that were possible at Clarke let me sample bench research and lit the spark. Also, the one-on-one teaching that we received in the science curriculum made us very competitive in graduate studies.
What would you tell a potential student about Clarke?
Clarke University provides a chance to receive a first-rate education in the setting of a ‘small campus’ environment. The breadth of education received at a liberal arts school will introduce you to many disciplines and experiences that may, in your future, represent an unforeseen career path. Always keep a door open.


ALISTON THOMASAliston Thomas  
“Clarke helped me develop various skills, including critical and analytical thinking, care and compassion for others, etc. Most of all, Clarke’s environment helped me develop a deeper sense of self and that through faith in God, anything is possible.”

Major/Grad Year: Chemistry, 1991
Graduate Degree: Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Illinois; MBA from
Cornell University
Title of Current Position: Technical Sales Manager
Employer: Agilent Technologies
City/State: Wilmington, Del.
Aliston currently manages a high-technology sales group focused on selling various analytical instrumentation used in the measurement of chemical, biologics and other substances. He also manages the Internship Program, as well as the North American Bids team. At HP/Agilent he has served in various roles including Business Development Manager for GC Products in the Americas, Corporate Sales and Marketing, Applications Scientist Manager, Marketing Program Manager, Product Marketing Manager, Sales Representative and his current role.
What main experiences outside of class were you involved in?
At Clarke, I was involved with the Minority Student Association. I was also involved with helping students in the Computer Science Center in the library. Both of these experiences gave me a chance to learn from and share with others.
What would you tell a potential student about Clarke?
Clarke offers a challenging, fun, faith-filled environmental that encourages and supports learning, while nurturing the whole person.  If you are looking for an environment that will help you discover, develop and apply your gifts and talents, I would strongly recommend considering Clarke University.



Elizabeth Petty
“After graduating from Clarke, I continued my studies in medicine and science at both a Big Ten University and an Ivy League School. I have had incredible experiences at those schools, but no experiences or opportunities that were more rewarding, enriching, and fulfilling than those I had at Clarke.”

Major/Grad Year:
Biology, Art History, 1981
Graduate Degree: MD, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health; postdoctoral training in genetics at Yale University.
Title of Current Position: Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Professor of Pediatrics
Employer: University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation
City/State: Madison, Wis.
Elizabeth oversees the health professional educational programs and student service programs at the University of Wisconsin, as well as the academic missions of the graduate medical education program and continuing medical education program. She was named one of “America’s Top Pediatricians” by the Consumers’ Research Council of America in 2009.

Why did you enroll at Clarke?
Clarke was the only college I actually looked at and that I applied to. I grew up in Shawano, a small town in northeastern Wisconsin, where my father was a physician and my mother was an artist. Although most of my friends went to college at one of the state universities or technical schools, I knew I wanted to go to a small liberal arts school where I could explore my interest in science as well as follow my passion in art and music.

What would you tell a potential student about Clarke?
Clarke University is an amazingly wonderful and rich environment for learning, professional development, spiritual enrichment and personal growth. The small size of the school, commitment and dedication of talented faculty and staff, diversity of academic programs and courses, emphasis on academic rigor and scholarship, supportive and nurturing community, opportunities for growth, strong student body, and focus on service makes it a highly unique and truly exceptional educational environment for continued education. The close-knit Clarke community embraces diversity, recognizes individual strengths, help students achieve in all areas, celebrates student accomplishments, and focuses on student success. It provides students with a wealth of opportunities that allows them to expand their horizons and excel in ways they might not have even imagined. It allows students to carve out their own individual path and nurtures them on their journey.

“The road has been anything but dull: from leading the public relations effort during Clarke’s historic fire and throughout its recovery, to working with national leaders and heads of state at Georgetown University.”

Major/Grad Year: Sociology, 1978
Title of Current Position: Campus Visit Coordinator
Employer: Susquehanna University
City/State: Selinsgrove, PA
Jane was invited to apply for her current position as Susquehanna University, as part of a larger and more strategic effort to increase its competitive edge in successfully recruiting academically talented students. She says it is great fun to figure out what is important to students, their families and what the “tipping point” might be in their decision-making.

How did Clarke prepare you for your current career?
My greatest lessons at Clarke came during:
  • Sister Lucilda O’Connor’s Spanish classes. In later years, I returned to the classroom to maintain my Spanish speaking skills so that I had basic competencies for communicating as a reporter and volunteer.
  • George R.R. Martin’s writing classes.
  • Sister Eileen McGovern’s Sociology classes, when I learned a great deal about ethnicity and the perspectives of others.
  • Art classes with Sister Helen Kerrigan, who opened my eyes to a whole new world and helped me to step outside my comfort zone with her love of art and her positive attitude.
  • Dinners with President Robert Giroux and the great discussions we had about politics and current events.
  • My participation in student government and the International Student Leadership Institute, thanks in part to Sister Therese Mackin.
  • Sister Catherine Dunn’s interpersonal communications class.
  • The media trip to New York City during my sophomore year, especially the opportunity to meet and hear the views of Gloria Steinem.
  • Working in the cafeteria dish room and in the post office.
What would you tell a potential student about Clarke? 
Clarke is a place that will know you, care about you, and challenge you to become more than you ever imagined. Clarke will nurture not only your mind but your heart and your spirit. It’s a dynamic world and it takes more than a fine mind to thrive. That’s why Clarke’s total approach is so important. 


  Scott SchuesslerSCOTT SCHUESSLER
“I felt wanted at Clarke. I felt I would have the opportunity to be very involved and had a guaranteed spot in the PT program.”

Major/Grad Year: Health, 2000
Graduate degrees: Master of Physical Therapy, 2001; Doctor of Physical Science 2006, Clarke College
Title of current position: Owner/physical therapist, Physical Therapy, Spine and Sports Medicine LLC, and Elite Physical Therapy
City/State: St. Louis
Two years after graduation, Scott was hired to open a clinic from scratch. He learned to market and develop a business on his own. He grew that clinic to a very successful clinic, and was promoted to run five clinics, then 12, then 20 clinics. When he got tired of corporate structures and the difficulty that comes with them, he decided to then open his own clinic. He calls it, “The best decision of my life.”

How did Clarke prepare you for your current career?
Clarke taught me how to treat patients, but also how to run a business. Clarke taught me a well-rounded professional awareness. It allowed me to excel in other activities, such as men’s volleyball and athletic training while in PT school. 

What would you tell a potential student about Clarke? 
Take advantage of everything you can. Grades are number 1. Be as busy as you can. Be involved in everything you possibly can. Pay attention to how people interact and what drives people. Learning communication and people interaction is huge in how the world works.



Wethal_headshotROBERT WETHAL
“The demands were high, but no matter where I have lived or worked, it has always been clear to me that my nursing degree from Clarke was essential in forming the professional that I am today.”

Major/Grad Year: Nursing 1997
Graduate Degree: Master’s in Healthcare Administration, Des Moines University
Title of Current Position: Director of Critical Care and Cardiovascular Services
Employer: Mercy Medical Center
City/State: Dubuque, Iowa

Bob is responsible for strategic plans and day-to-day operations of five units/programs at Mercy Medical Center, including supervisory responsibilities for 80-plus employees. He has led various special projects including development of a Congestive Heart Failure Program and the $30 million renovation of two hospital units.

How did Clarke prepare you for your current career?
The nursing faculty was key in preparing me for a career in healthcare. Accountability, professionalism and the importance of evidence-based care were stressed in the program.

What would you tell a potential student about Clarke? 
The Clarke education has a high value. Clarke knows its students in a way that other institutions can't. The student-teacher ratio, personalized education and nurturing environment in both the arts and sciences are the jewels of Clarke. Clarke is poised for the future, focusing energy in studies that truly prepare students for a lifelong career path.


Alumni Outcomes_Kustelski


“Living with a group of women from backgrounds often very different from
mine taught me to expect and respect many different outlooks on life.” 

Major/Grad Year: Chemistry, 1962
Title of Current Position: Quality Assurance/Quality Control Director
Employer: Summit Brewing Company
City/State: St. Paul, Minn.
The QA/QC Department at Summit Brewing, a Regional Craft Brewery, monitors the entire brewing process beginning with raw ingredients (in some cases using analyses from suppliers) through brewing, fermentation, aging, separating, packaging, and finally handling any consumer complaints. To accomplish this, Geri and her team use physical, analytical, microbiological and sensory testing.
How did Clarke prepare you for your current career?
Clarke gave me a firm basis in my major, chemistry, as well as a well-rounded education in life.
What would you tell a potential student about Clarke?
Clarke provided me with an excellent and broad education. From what I have seen of it currently I believe Clarke is still capable of doing this.
  • Support Clarke - Spring
  • Arts at Clarke 2016
  • Transfer Fall 2015