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David R. Clarke - Diamond Jubilee Outstanding Alumnus
Bachelor of Science - 1965 - Zoology
Raised in Laramie, the son of a UW zoologist, L. Floyd Clarke, David Clarke's first 21 years of life were filled with experiences involving the University of Wyoming, "I am constantly amazed that a school as small as the University of Wyoming could offer so much. While obtaining a superb education from very dedicated professors, campus life gave me much more. Social opportunities leading to life-long friendships, exposure to excellent athletic and cultural programs, afforded an environment rich in experiences. Even the dreaded Saturday morning Chemistry Lab became pleasurable and worthwhile in the collegial environment on campus."
Clarke fulfilled his life-long dream of becoming a physician in 1969, when he graduated from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, where he also completed his residency. While many doctors might have sought a comfortable living in a private practice, Clarke spent a year in London learning more about pediatric heart disease and its surgical management. Today he is a nationally recognized cardiothoracic surgeon specializing in heart disease in children. He is Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at both Children's Hospital in Denver and the CU Health Sciences Center, where he also directs the Thoracic Surgery Residency Training Program. He has invented and improved upon surgical procedures for repairing defective hearts and vessels, especially in children, and has performed heart transplants. Clarke worked for eight years, with little support, to consolidate the scattered, independent islands of pediatric cardiac care in the Rocky Mountain area. His persistence has created what is today a center of excellence in the Rocky Mountain area where children with heart disease can get treatment equal to that offered any place in the world.