After graduating from North Central, David Clarke earned an undergraduate degree from Gonzaga University and later received a doctorate in chemistry from Northwestern University in Illinois. However, the influence that the Catholic faith had on him during his undergraduate years at Gonzaga led him to enter the Society of Jesus to become a priest. He was ordained in 1964 and began a professional career in academic and administrative positions at many different colleges. In 1972 he found a home at Regis University in Denver.
As president of that Jesuit institution over the following 20 years, he put the university on sound financial ground and presided over a merger which brought a nursing and health professions school to Regis. He displayed a knack for hiring good instructors and inspiring them to be passionate about Jesuit values and education in the classroom.
During his presidential tenure, Father Clarke also established Regis University as a leader in adult education. He originated the university’s College for Professional Studies, which today offers undergraduate and graduate programs to adults nationally and internationally online.
After leading Regis University as its president for two decades, Father Clarke continued to serve the university as its chancellor for another 19 years. In January 2012 he left Regis and returned to Gonzaga University to begin his retirement.