(l. to r.) John Werner '53, Dr. Clare M. Cotton, Jr. ’48
and President Robert Lindgren
Dr. Clare M. Cotton, Jr. ’48 was presented with the Society of Alumni’s Distinguished
Alumnus Award on Saturday, May 31, 2008. It was presented at the annual meeting
of The Boydton Society that was held at Randolph-Macon College during commencement
As a student at Randolph-Macon College, Cotton was active in many campus organizations.
He was a member of the Franklin Debate Society, Beta Beta Beta, Delta Sigma Rho/Tau
Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Beta Kappa. In addition, he was a member of the
R-MC Glee Club. He graduated from R-MC in 1948 with a degree in English and earned
his masters degree in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina in 1951.
During his 20-year career as a reporter and editor, Cotton worked for the Wilson,
N.C. Daily Times, Science Service, and The Wall Street Journal. From 1960 to 1971,
he served as director of the Independent News Bureau in London where he was also
vice president of European Securities Publications, Inc.
Cotton became Vice President for Development and Public Affairs at Boston University
in 1971, a position he held until becoming the university’s vice president for Government
and University Relations in 1974. He was a member of the group that created the
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in 1976 to address
the needs of such institutions at the federal level and served as chair of the State
Executives of this organization. In 1977 Cotton founded the Boston-Fenway Program,
a consortium organized to improve public safety in Fenway neighborhoods, assist
in neighborhood revitalization, and provide centralized data and planning services
for its member institutions. He received the Outstanding Bostonian Award in 1980.
Cotton retired after serving almost 20 years as President of the Association of
Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts.
In 1997, Cotton was a U.S. Senate appointee to the 11-member National Commission
on the Cost of Higher Education. In 2002 he was appointed by the President Pro Tempore
of the Senate to serve a 2-year term on the U.S. Department of Education’s Advisory
Committee on Student Financial Assistance.
Cotton has been the recipient of several honorary degrees and distinguished service
awards from Northeastern University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Mount Ida
College, Becker College including an honorary doctor of letters degree from Randolph-Macon
College in 1968.