Saturday, July 05, 2008

Madison Central High School alumnus carries the Olympic torch for China

Torchbearer Clarke Caywood running with the torch. The Torch Relay in Lijiang started at 8 a.m. Zhang Zilan and He Zhensheng ran the first leg. (Photo credit: Xing Guangli/Xinhua)

Before you start squawking about the "misleading" header for this post, let me remind you that an alumnus or alumna is someone who attended a school, not necessarily a graduate. That's why Madison [Central] High School can claim Frank Lloyd Wright and Georgia O'Keeffe as alumni, even though Wright dropped out (and never graduated) and O'Keeffe transferred to another school after her sophomore year.

So yes, Clarke Caywood is a Central alumnus. He attended Central in ninth grade and was a member of the junior high football, basketball, and track teams. The following year, he joined the Shorewood School defectors and transferred to West, where he graduated in 1965.

Now back to the news: Clarke, who is now on the faculty at Northwestern University in Evanston, carried the torch on June 10, 2008 as part of the torch relay in Lijiang, China. Clarke, who has also been a visiting lecturer at several Chinese universities, was invited to be a torchbearer by Samsung Corporation.

"I'm not an athlete, but I am very honored to be part of the Olympic cause and history," Clarke told a reporter for the Northwestern University News and Information Service.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, Clarke "ran about 43 meters, short of the 200 he had expected to run."

"At one point they were talking about running on cobblestone streets, and I thought, 'Oh great, I'll be the guy who falls,'" Clarke told Tribune reporter Jodi S. Cohen.

The relay has been marked by protests over China's human rights record and by pro-Tibet demonstrations. If you're interested in reading how Clarke responded to the protests, read Cohen's article.

For additional information, check out these links:

Northwestern University press release: "Professor Carries Torch for the China Olympics" (and see if you can spot the spelling error!)

His UW-Madison School of Business alumni profile

See him talking about his work at Northwestern on the video that's part of his faculty profile


Anonymous said...

I am very proud to be considered an alumnus of Central. My Mom attended too but Gramps had her transfer to Edgewood for skipping class too much to hear the big bands. Nadine is always quick with the witty comment. My many PRC students at NU love to take a photo with the torch. Clarke

Nadine said...

I never would have guessed that your mother went to Central, but here she is in the September 23, 1938 issue of the Madison Mirror:

Look in the column on the far right and you'll see that she was program chairman for Home Room 202.

Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D. said...

Mom (Margie) Marjorie Caroline Clarke was a cutey. She tried UW but spent too much time horseback riding through Shorewood Hills from the stable that later became a furniture store on University Ave. next to the PDQ. She then went to a "finishing school" as they called them. Braver still, she enlisted in the Lady Marines and arrived at Pearl Harbor shortly after the attack to managed a post office so a "boy" could go to the front. She was a Mifflin Street girl when that was not a student area. Thanks, Nadine. When do you write the history of Madison from your point of view! Clarke