In honor of late artist, teacher and friend Dr. Christopher Layton Clark, Utah Valley University’s School of the Arts is introducing the Chris Clark Scholarship, an academic grant designed to help UVU theater students attending the UVU Theater Study Abroad program.
During his time at UVU — which included serving as the university’s Theater Department chair — Dr. Clark took students to London and Edinburgh through the Theater Study Abroad program. There, students would witness live theater in venues like Stratford Upon Avon, the home of William Shakespeare’s plays.
After Dr. Clark passed away from ALS in June 2020, employees at the UVU School of the Arts wanted to keep his passion for the study abroad program alive.
UVU School of the Arts Marketing Manager Isaac Walters met Chris in middle school and was responsible for transitioning the project — originally a stage production — to an online memorial.
“He had a huge impact on so many people I know,” Walters said. “He had a very big impact on me. He was there for me as a friend during some of the darkest periods of my life. And I think he was that for pretty much everybody he met. He was a remarkable individual.”
Jay Drawns, UVU Marketing
Scholarship funds come from The Ron and Kaye Gunnel Family Foundation, which contributed up to 75% of the amount needed to fully fund the scholarship. The remaining 25% is currently being gathered as part of Dr. Clark’s online memorial and scholarship fund. Additionally, the 2019 benefit production of Xanadu — produced by Dr. Clark’s friends and collaborators and held at the Hale Center Theater Orem — raised enough funds to help a directing student attendee the Theater Study Abroad Program.
“There’s something to be said for his legacy, for leaving something behind that will continue to do good year after year,” School of the Arts Marketing Manager Erika Stone said. “I think it’s a wonderful thing for his wife and for his family to know that he lives on. He’s going to continue to help people and do the same things that he was doing in life in terms of having an impact on people.”
Dr. Clark’s signature quotation, “Well Roared, Lion,” comes from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” While its meaning is up to interpretation, the quotation signifies a voice and a well-lived life, according to Walters.
“For me, (that quote) represents so much about Chris because it’s from Shakespeare, something he loved very much,” Walters said. “And secondly, it’s from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ It’s all about comedy, and Chris loved to make people laugh. It says something about who he is as much as the quality of what he did, which was, of course, extraordinary.”
You can contribute to the Chris Clark Scholarship at http://uvu.edu/thenoorda/well-roared-lion.html.