Incoming Holy Cross president Marco Clark discusses goals for College
Liam Price | Friday, April 22, 2022
Holy Cross announced last week that Marco Clark will succeed Fr. David Tyson as College president in July when Tyson’s term ends. Clark, who will be the first non-Holy Cross brother or priest to serve as Holy Cross president, said he was compelled to apply to the position because of the College’s ability to foster student growth.
“Holy Cross College is a place where people can flourish — they can really grow into themselves,” he said. “It’s got a small enough environment to meet students where they are and help them fulfill their God-given potential.”
Originally hoping to become a high school football coach when he graduated college, Clark said he felt a larger calling for a future in Catholic education while serving as a school counselor at DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland.
“I believe in a vocational call,” Clark said. “I use the phrase that ‘God brings us to our time and place.’”
Clark’s “time and place” led him to Bishop McNamara High School in Illinois from 1997-2020, where he first served as principal and eventually president of the school.
Most recently, he has served as executive director of the Holy Cross Institute at St. Edward’s University in Texas. As executive director, he said he “would work on mission formation, conduct research and develop programs that would enhance the mission at all of the 120 Holy Cross schools, colleges and universities.”
Clark aims to continue to follow Holy Cross mission
The Holy Cross Board of Trustees prioritized a commitment to the Holy Cross mission in their presidential search and Clark emphasized that it would be central to him as well.
Clark said Holy Cross’s mission should be the primary consideration for every action the College takes.
“Our mission should inform every decision that we make, it should inform curricular decisions, it should inform residential life [and] it should inform what our campus community is like,” he said.
And though Clark is the first president of the College to not be a brother or priest, he believes his experiences with the Congregation of Holy Cross has prepared him to carry on its mission during his time as president.
“I may not have ‘C.S.C.’ after my name, but I have C.S.C. in my DNA,” Clark said. “I’ve worked with the brothers for 25 years, I was taught by the priests and brothers in high school and I have immersed my professional life in what it means to be a Holy Cross educator.”
Clark, a husband, father of three and grandfather of five, said he is a high energy person who loves to stay active outdoors. As president, he hopes to use his energy to better the Holy Cross student experience.
“I plan to be everywhere. I plan to engage with the students. And, in that, I need to listen to the students,” he said.
He also said his background in enrollment management and growth as well as his executive skills will be useful in helping Holy Cross to grow.
Growing Holy Cross, Clark said, is a comprehensive task.
“It’s growing the academic profile. It’s growing our reputation. It’s growing physically our enrollment and it’s growing physically, the capital, the campus,” he said. “That’s what growth means to me.”
Clark hopes to enhance student life
A college education, Clark said, is as much experiential as it is focused on gaining knowledge and wisdom in the classroom. With this belief as a guide, Clark plans to help foster a vibrant campus life at Holy Cross.
“Holy Cross College is a place where opportunities abound and I think we need to create more opportunities in the areas of student life,” Clark said.
One aspect of student life Clark looks to expand upon is Holy Cross athletics.
“I’d like to see us add some additional sports programs because I think there’s opportunity to do that,” he said.
A former college football player, athletics are highly important to Clark. He said he learned valuable lessons of selflessness and teamwork through playing and coaching sports and he finds students who participate in athletics and the arts grow strong work ethics.
As president, Clark aims to set a high standard for the College.
“We need to do everything with excellence,” he said. “You can have excellent athletic programs, excellent academics, excellent commitment to social justice and excellent commitment to service and ministry.”
Ultimately, Clark is excited to take on the role of Holy Cross president.
“I’m really honored, humbled and grateful for this opportunity to lead Holy Cross College and there won’t be anyone out there that will outwork me and there won’t be anyone out there that will be more passionate than I will be for our college.”