Photo provided by The Noorda

UVU’s School of the Arts introduces the Chris Clark Scholarship in honor of UVU Professor Christopher Layton Clark.

What does it mean to be a well-roared lion? The phrase comes from Shakespeare’s play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and is up for interpretation, but it seems to suggest the idea of a person who leaves a long-lasting impression.

Many people wonder whether they will leave a positive impact on the world after they are gone. Dr. Christopher Layton Clark, who passed away in June 2020 due to ALS, didn’t have to ask that question as evidenced in the lives of all the UVU students who he loved and taught for years.

The Noorda Center for the Performing Arts hosted a virtual event entitled “Well-roared Lion, the Legacy of Chris Clark,” commemorating the late and great UVU professor in order to draw in donations for a scholarship named and awarded in his honor. 

The event featured Lisa Clark (Chris’ wife) and several close friends and colleagues, expressing his always-excited and humorous demeanor even while his condition worsened to the point where he was wheelchair-bound and had to use a computer to speak. But if there was one message that stood out above all, it was his passion for theater.

Chris’ attraction to theater reached a crossroads in 2001 when he had to decide whether to stay at his steady job as a manager of a Barnes & Noble, or take a risk and travel to the University of Exeter in London and enroll in their program for directing Shakespeare. Take one guess which path he chose.

Even after he returned to Utah, producing many unforgettable plays with his newfound skills as a director, he couldn’t forget his time in London and the appreciation for art it instilled within him. He wanted others to have the same experience, so he created UVU Theater’s study abroad program which offered students the chance to immerse themselves in one of the world’s most premier locations for theatrical experiences. 

Before his passing, he remounted a production of “Xanadu” as part of a fundraiser to create a scholarship to ensure that the study abroad program would go on to change student lives. With the support of the attendees, they were able to create a half-scholarship, and with a generous contribution from The Ron and Kaye Gunnel Family Foundation, they were able to raise that to 75% of a fully funded scholarship. The “Well-roared Lion, the Legacy of Chris Clark” event was an effort to bridge the final gap to 100%. 

It is inarguable that Chris had a huge influence on the students and faculty of UVU. It is also inarguable that his influence continues today. To be a well-roared lion was Chris’s personal slogan. Did he manage to live up to it? His legacy speaks for itself.

Donate to the Chris Clark Scholarship at https://www.uvu.edu/give/fund/arts.html

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