Two visionaries at Clark

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President Theodore Roosevelt

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In 1905 Clark’s president, former Commissioner of Labor Carroll Wright, invited President Theodore Roosevelt to give a speech to the graduating class.

Roosevelt’s visit to Worcester was brief but monumental.  300,000 people lined the streets of Worcester when he arrived via train. Although it was raining, Roosevelt had forgone an umbrella in response to the unprotected masses waiting for his arrival.

Roosevelt spoke to the 43 graduates about the importance of education on character, how their Clark experience was equally important to the development of a sense of purpose and honor as it was for gaining knowledge.  He promoted moral values as well as physical health.  A majority of the students went on to graduate school the next year.  Roosevelt’s visit to Clark, and Holy Cross later in the trip, was celebrated by all of the Worcester papers.

Albert Abraham Michelson

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Albert Abraham Michelson was born in Poland in 1852. He moved with his family to San Francisco in 1855. Michelson is best known for his ability to define the speed of light at 186,355 miles per second, a calculation made with his own invention, the interferometer. He published his findings in an article called “On a Method of Measuring the Velocity of Light” in the American Journal of Science. In 1889 he came to Clark University as a professor. During his time here he designed a “comparator” to measure the length of an object in a number of light wave lengths. His stay at Clark lasted only three years due to disagreements among the faculty. In 1907, he received the Nobel Prize for Physics. Before he died in 1931 he met Einstein, who told him that Michelson’s work had laid the foundations for the theory of relativity. Ironically, Michelson had never believed in the theory.