Distinguished Alumna 1999
Susan Ivy Clark

Susan Ivy Clark, Lawton, was born in 1953 at Fort Bragg, N.C. and graduated from Northside High School, Fort Smith, Ark. She received bachelor's degrees in sociology and history from Cameron in 1975.

She was one of the first graduates in the sociology degree program. She has fond memories of her instructors and experiences at Cameron and remembers working in the art department when it was located in the barns on the west side of campus with an occasional cow observing her through the window.

Other degrees include an associate of art from Westark College and a masters in sociology, with honors, from the University of Oklahoma where she was a graduate teaching and research assistant.

Clark has been an interviewer for the Oklahoma State Employment Service, a social worker for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services in 1977-85 and an outreach counselor for St. John's Hospital's Adolescent Treatment Unit in 1985-87. Her work for St. Johns Hospital included the development of the S.T.A.R. program at Comanche County Memorial Hospital. Since 1987, she has been the director of New Directions, Inc. She has also taught as an adjunct instructor in the criminal justice, sociology and political science department at Cameron.

She became a volunteer and board member of New Directions, a shelter for battered women and their children in 1983, serving several terms as an officer including president. Under her leadership the shelter has increased staff, services and volunteer support. Programs include 24-hour sexual assault crisis teams and a hotline, family counseling, court advocacy, outpatient counseling, a public awareness program and professional training for volunteers, police and medical staff. Through local efforts, shelter services are now available to more southwest Oklahoma counties. Through grants and fund-raising efforts, New Directions is building a new shelter and is expected to open its doors this fall.

Clark introduced the Silent Witness Program to Oklahoma through New Directions and Junior League of Lawton. The project involves the creation of life-size silhouettes holding engraved plaques with the stories of women and children killed by domestic violence in the Lawton area.

A proposal written by Clark brought New Directions Oklahoma's first grant from the Nicole Brown Simpson Charitable Foundation. This led to a meeting with the staff of that organization and members of the Brown family in Washington, D.C., on behalf of victims of violence. An invitation was extended to march with them at a March to End Silence, with the Lawton delegation creating the Silent Witness silhouette for Nicole.

Clark became a member of Junior League of Lawton since 1991 and served as president for 1998-99. She has served on the Oklahoma Coalition on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault since 1980. She has been a member of the Comanche County FEMA board since 1994 and has served on the State Department of Health's domestic violence and sexual assault advisory committee.

Honors include Outstanding Women of Comanche County nominee in 1997 and Outstanding Young Women of America in 1986.