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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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GIROUX, Robert

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Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald

GIROUX, Robert. (VT--Wichita, KS, Jan. 11, 2007). Giroux, then thirty-seven years old, became president of CLARKE COLLEGE in 1969 succeeding Sister Mary Benedict Phelan, B.V.M., who had held the office since 1957. In accepting the position, Giroux became the first man and first layperson to serve as president of the college. At the time, some members of the Clarke Alumnae Club of Des Moines wrote to the college's board of trustees of their "disappointment because it defeats the concept of education for women if a man is appointed to head it." (1)

On April 22, 1977, following a mild heart attack and a return to work part-time, Giroux submitted his letter of resignation. Upon acceptance of his resignation, the trustees appointed him chancellor of the college for the following school year and elected him to the board of trustees.

During his tenure, the school became accredited to offer graduate programs in education. Majors were added in special education, continuing education, and sociology. He was instrumental in forming the TRI-COLLEGE COOPERATIVE EFFORT with LORAS COLLEGE and the UNIVERSITY OF DUBUQUE and set the stage for Clarke becoming co-ed after he left. (2)

In 1971 Clarke initiated the "Intersect program in which high school seniors in their last semester could be enrolled as regular freshman courses at Clarke with the college paying half of the tuition. Some students were able to carry nine hours of courses. (3) Such a program, then virtually known in the United States, became increasing popular in the succeeding decades.

Citing increased costs and reduced federal aid to higher education, Gioux announced in 1972 that tuition had to be raised five dollars to $55 per semester hour. (4)

Giroux moved on to become president of Thomas More College in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky and then Newman University in Wichita from 1982 to 1989. (5)



1. Mozinski, Eileen, "Only Male Clarke President, Giroux, Dies at 75," Telegraph Herald, January 12, 2007, p. 1

2. Ibid.

3. Babcock, Susan, "Trial Run Through Academia," Telegraph-Herald, December 12, 1971, p. 11

4. "Clarke Tuition Raised to $55 An Hour," Telegraph-Herald, March 2, 1972, p. 10

5. Ibid.