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Philosophy professor receives Dux Academicus award

John P. Clark, Ph.D., Gregory F. Curtin Distinguished Professor in Humane Letters and Professions, was awarded the Loyola University New Orleans 2008 Dux Academicus Award on Friday, Jan. 23 by President Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D, during the Spring 2009 Convocation. Nominated by colleagues, students and former students, Clark’s work as a teacher, adviser, scholar and member of the university community has earned him the high regard and respect of his students and colleagues.

“I am sincerely honored to receive the Dux Award, and were I to choose the one thing that has affected me most profoundly over my 38 years at Loyola, it would be the many extraordinary, intelligent and committed young people I have met and worked with in organizations such as LUCAP,” noted Clark.

LUCAP, the Loyola University Community Action Program, is a student-run organization that promotes social justice and voluntarism.

“These students, who express so vividly in their lives our ideals of social justice and being ‘persons for others,’ have been the source of the greatest joy, inspiration and hope for the future,” said Clark.

Since 1978, Loyola University New Orleans has awarded the Dux Academicus to a faculty member who “is able to impart the knowledge and wisdom of the humanities, sciences, or the professions to students in a manner consistent with the unique philosophy of Loyola University New Orleans as a Jesuit institution of higher education.”

A New Orleans native, Clark earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Tulane University.

Clark joined the Loyola faculty in 1970 as a lecturer of philosophy and became a professor of philosophy in 1983. He has also served on the faculty of the Environmental Studies Program since 1989, chairing it 1997-98 and 2000-2003.

In Clark’s recommendation letter, a former student said, “He has inspired me to examine my own personal philosophy of life and my field of interest–psychology–through varied, inquisitive lenses. Dr. Clark is at once warm, engaging, emphatic, articulate, bold and tranquil and is an academic who understands the true responsibility of teaching: to set an example by conducting lessons that will enable the student to think for him or herself, question the norm and take risks.”

One of Clark’s colleagues characterizes him as “a dedicated teacher, scholar and community activist who truly exemplifies the Jesuit ideal of being a person for others.”

Clark has been a past recipient of the Pax Christi New Orleans Bread and Roses Award for peace and social justice activism, the Anthony Waters Distinguished Teaching Award and the City College Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship.

Clark’s research interests include dialectical thought, ecological philosophy, social ecology, environmental ethics, Buddhist philosophy and Daoist thought. He has been active for many years in the Green Movement, an international movement for ecological sustainability, world peace, social justice and grassroots democracy. He also works in the bioregional movement and in ecological forestry, and is reforesting and reintroducing native species on an 83-acre tract along Bayou LaTerre in Hancock County, Miss.

In addition to more than 100 published articles in the areas of ecological philosophy, environmental ethics and social and political theory, Clark has written several books, including “Max Stirner’s Egoism,” “The Philosophical Anarchism of William Godwin,” and “The Anarchist Moment: Reflections on Culture, Nature and Power.”