(Seated, from left to right) Dr. Frederick Keating, President of RCGC; Joan Clark; Marvin Clark; and Steve Shriver, RCGC Foundation Chair. (Standing) Carol Henzy, wife of the late Dr. John Henzy and RCGC Foundation member; Alice Smith, Adult Center for Transition (ACT) Employment Specialist; Joanate Clark; and Kevin Athey, ACT Job Coach.
Joan and Marvin Clark have dedicated their lives to educating young minds and have always had a special place in their hearts for students with developmental disabilities. On Sept. 26, they took that dedication a step further with the establishment of the Clark Family Scholarship, created to support the next generation of special education teachers at Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC).
Since 2002, the couple has owned and operated Avenues of Independent Living in Woodbury, where the family resides. Avenues of Independent Living was founded to assist and support those with developmental disabilities by building a life plan around the individual's preferences, strengths and abilities, involving family members, friends and professionals in both the planning and delivery of services. The company aids individuals in Gloucester, Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May and Salem counties.
The Clarks, married since 1996, both have their roots in Gloucester County College (now RCGC) and remember the institution fondly. Joan graduated from Gloucester County College in 1980, before continuing on to Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) to complete her degree in special education and go on to work within that field at Bancroft School in Haddonfield. She credits her time at the community college – and in particular the late Professor Henzy – for helping her discover her true passion.
"My beginnings here were eye-opening," Joan told the group of students, faculty and staff that had gathered in the mezzanine of RCGC's College Center. "Professor Henzy helped me find what I was truly good at. The guidance I received here determined the direction I would go and, through this scholarship, I want to be able to provide that same thing to future students."
Though not a graduate of RCGC, Marvin has his own relationship to the College. He received his economics degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983 before going on to become a social studies teacher at Woodbury High School, where he worked for 17 years. While pursuing his degree, Marvin picked up some general education courses at Gloucester County College and formed his own connection to Professor Henzy.
"Dr. Henzy was the first professor I ever had that incorporated my learning style into my education, and he taught me to do that for my own students. This place was exactly what I needed when I needed it, and it is exactly what students need today."
The event incorporated an additional speaker – Joanate Clark, one of the couple's four children. Joanate, just like her parents before her, is proud to be a student of RCGC. She is currently studying mathematics and has been strongly influenced by the work her family has done within the special education community.
"I have been involved in special education throughout my entire life," Joanate reflected. "During my time here at RCGC, I want to be able to reach out to my fellow students and to encourage their interest in special education."
The Clark Family Scholarship will fund a $500 scholarship annually for a deserving first- or second-year, full-time student who wishes to pursue a degree and/or career in special education. The award can be applied to tuition, books or educational fees.
Through the generosity of individuals, organizations and companies in the area, Rowan College Foundation at Gloucester County offers numerous academic and program scholarships annually to qualified students enrolled on a full- or part-time basis. For more information on scholarship opportunities and how to apply, visit
Rowan College at Gloucester County's 250-acre campus is located on Tanyard Road in Deptford, just off Exit 56 of Route 55.