Clerico Gift to Oklahoma State University Will Renovate Library Plaza
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
To honor his late wife who was an alumna of Oklahoma State University, Tulsa businessman John Clerico has donated $500,000 to renovate the original 1953 South Plaza of the OSU Edmon Low Library in Stillwater.
The new plaza will be named the Beverly Clerico Plaza in her honor, according to OSU System CEO and President David J. Schmidly, and construction will take place this summer. The gift equals the largest single donation ever made to the library.
“The library is a cherished visual and academic symbol of the campus, and the plaza should reflect this,” Schmidly said. “With this extraordinary gift, the plaza will become the proper ‘front porch’ for one of the university’s most recognized and important buildings. The library is the heart of a university, a facility used by all students and faculty, and this gift is meeting an important need.”
Schmidly said, “We are deeply grateful to the Clericos for their long-time support of OSU and for this gift. Beverly loved OSU and we’re honored to recognize her with this lasting tribute. OSU has a special place in its heart for Beverly and John Clerico.”
The Clericos met at OSU, where John received his B.S. degree in general business in 1963. “It’s up to those of us who enjoyed this campus and benefited from a wonderful education to give back for students today and in the future,” Clerico said. “I know Beverly would have appreciated this opportunity to beautify the campus that she loved and which played such a meaningful part in our life together. Our family is proud to know that her name will forever be a part of our alma mater.”
Schmidly said gifts from valued donors such as the Clericos are more important than ever in today’s challenging economic environment. “The funds we receive from the state, which 20 years ago were close to half of our total budget, are less than a third today. Donor gifts are critical to the future health of OSU.”
Sheila Grant Johnson, dean of the OSU library, said, "The Edmon Low Library has served students and faculty for 50 years as a place to meet, study and work. Our goal is to ensure that this wonderful building is preserved for generations to come. Thanks to the generous gift of the Clerico family, the front of the Library will be beautifully restored and will be ready to welcome students, faculty, staff and alumni this fall."
The OSU library is one of the finest in the nation, housing nearly 2.6 million volumes. It welcomes nearly a million visitors a year and has expanded its services with its web site and online catalog.
The Clerico’s support of the university has been on-going for more than two decades. Clerico is chairman and a registered financial adviser at ChartMark Investments, Inc., in Tulsa, which he co-founded in 2000. He serves on the board of directors of Community Health Systems, Inc., headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn., which operates more than 70 hospitals in more than 20 states.
From 1983-92 he was an executive officer in various financial and accounting areas of Union Carbide Corporation, and when Praxair, Inc., was spun-off in 1992, he served as its executive vice president and the chief financial officer and a director until 2000.
Mrs. Clerico passed away in Tulsa on Aug. 18, 2004. They are the parents of one daughter, Diane Clerico Deakin of Newtown, Conn.