IUP Alumni Create Scholarship in Honor of “Boardwalk Bowl” to Benefit Student-Athletes

Posted on 6/28/21 1:41 PM

Indiana University of Pennsylvania graduates Gerald Clark, a 1969 management graduate, and his wife, Cheryl Dunlap Clark, a 1968 elementary education graduate, natives of Punxsutawney and current residents of DuBois since 1973, have made a $25,000 gift to benefit student-athletes in the football program.

This gift will establish the Jerry and Cheryl Clark Boardwalk Bowl Scholarship, which is one of a family of eight endowments to be established by members of IUP's Boardwalk Bowl football team to benefit student-athletes in the football program.

Jerry Clark was a member of the Boardwalk Bowl football team at IUP. This 1968 team, coached by the late Chuck Klausing, was the first IUP football team to participate in a national playoff game.

Boardwalk Bowl newspaper photo and caption from 1968 The 1968 Boardwalk Bowl team is the first IUP football team to establish a team endowment at IUP. The Boardwalk Bowl family of endowments were established in 2020 to perpetuate the Boardwalk Bowl Annual Scholarship, which was established in 2012—to date, 14 student-athletes have received 21 scholarships totaling over $109,000.

The Boardwalk Bowl was the nation's first NCAA football championship game played indoors, the first IUP football game to be broadcast live on television, and the 1968 team was the first IUP football team in school history to finish the regular season unbeaten and untied at 9-0. The Boardwalk Bowl, which debuted in 1968, determined the college division champion of the NCAA's Atlantic Coast Region, which included 121 schools.

“We decided to make this commitment after talking with some other members of the team,” Jerry Clark said. “We got a lot of support when we were here at IUP, and we wanted to provide those opportunities to student-athletes, particularly student-athletes in the football program. We know that, eventually, members of our Boardwalk Bowl team will be gone, and we wanted to contribute to a family of team endowments to keep the legacy of the team alive,” he said.

IUP became a university in Jerry Clark's sophomore year, which opened up new academic programs for him, and he switched his major from business education to business management-accounting.

While at IUP, Jerry Clark was a member of Theta Chi fraternity and played football and baseball. He was inducted into the IUP Athletic Hall of Fame and into the Punxsutawney Area High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

“It was the Vietnam era during my time at IUP,” he said. “I knew many high school friends and even fraternity brothers that were lost in the war. What was happening on campus at that time really made us grow up quickly. The patriotic side of wanting to win, and the other perspective surrounding the nature of the war—protests and other related anti-war events—were defining moments in looking at things objectively and not just from one perspective. It set a foundation for me to look at things and process situations moving forward.”

After graduating from IUP, he enlisted in the Army and attended the Infantry Officer's Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was active duty for two years and served for 20 additional years in the Army Reserves.

After his active-duty service, he worked at First Commonwealth Bank, retiring as an assistant vice president after a 29-year career. Currently, and for the last 14 years, he has been on the staff of the Right of Way Division of Stantec Consulting.

He continues to be active in his community, serving as a treasurer of the Fraternal Housing Corporation of Epsilon Eta and as a trustee of the Punxsutawney Athletic Foundation.

He has also served on the board of the DuBois Public Library and is the past president of the organization. He is a past treasurer of the Keystone Tall Tree Girl Scout Council, is a past member of the DuBois Area United Way Budget Committee, and is a past board member of the DuBois Little League.

He also remains active with the university, serving as a member of the IUP Athletic Advancement Council and on the IUP Boardwalk Bowl Football Endowment Campaign.

Cheryl Clark taught in the DuBois Area School District for 25 years, and also is active in her community. She coached youth soccer for many years in the DuBois area along with being on the coaching staff of the DuBois Area's first high school women's soccer team. She has also been involved with the Girl Scout program in the DuBois area, and is a founding sponsor of Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County.

Jerry Clark credits his IUP education and athletic experience as laying the groundwork for his future.

“The business management program expanded the curriculum within the college,” he said. “It was always a demanding environment, and the academic discipline it required, along with the demands of athletic competition, prepared me well and gave me the foundation I needed to succeed.”

He values the fact that a state university provides a cross-section of individuals and perspectives, and he wants to encourage current students to appreciate that IUP is here to help them to focus on their objectives.

“Challenge yourself academically, respect others, and always chart a path to your goals and dreams,” he said.

“IUP alumni continue to demonstrate incredible loyalty to IUP, and to one another,” Vice President for University Advancement Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna said. “IUP is a place where students create lifelong bonds of friendship. It's very gratifying to see how our alumni want to ‘pay it forward' to students and encourage our current and future students to develop these lifetime relationships.”

This gift is part of IUP's Imagine Unlimited comprehensive campaign. In February 2021, IUP shattered its $75-million goal for the campaign, raising more than $81.36 million, ending the campaign $6.13 million above goal and six months early. The success of Imagine Unlimited is the result of almost 63,700 donations from more than 22,000 donors, who made gifts designed to focus on the campaign priorities of enhancing science and mathematics, academic excellence and innovation, student success, and leadership through athletic competition.