Student studies inside the Clements Recreational Center

Vida S. Clements Foundation

As the Clements’ carillon in Towers Hall tolls the hours of the day on campus, the Otterbein community is forever reminded of the constant love, generosity and support shared by Frank Orville ’1896 and Vida Shauck ’1901 Clements.

“The genuine son of Otterbein,” Frank O. Clements has been described as “a scholar, a scientist, a pioneer in the unexplored realms of new truth.” He earned his bachelor’s (1896) and master’s degrees (1898) from Otterbein, and the University later bestowed him with an Honorary Doctor of Science degree (1929). In order to pay his way through graduate school at The Ohio State University, he taught freshman chemistry and met a student, Charles F. Kettering, who became instrumental in his life.

Frank was a chemist for the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Union Pacific Railroad and the National Cash Register Co. In 1916, Charles, who had originated and manufactured automobile ignition and lighting equipment, invited Frank to become the organizer and director of a new research laboratory which later became the General Motors Research Laboratories. Frank retired as the technical director of the lab in 1939.

During his tenure, he served as an alumni trustee on the Otterbein Board of Trustees for 26 years beginning in 1918, and served as the chairman for 11 years. He was one of the first three Otterbein alumni inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame in 1968, which then posthumously honored nationally-recognized alumni.

Vida S. Clements graduated from Otterbein in 1901, and received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in 1953. She devoted much of her service and time to the community. She was an active participant in the Otterbein Women’s Club, the Otterbein Centurion Club, the Westerville Garden Club, the Westerville Historical Society and the Westerville Women’s Music Club. She was an honorary member of the Varsity “O” Club and an honorary colonel in the U.S. Air Force ROTC unit at Otterbein. In 1944, she was elected to the Otterbein Board of Trustees and served for 23 years. She also served on the executive committee and the development board. In 1963, the Otterbein Women’s Club named her “Woman of the Year.”

During the “Woman of the Year” speech honoring Vida, Helen Ensor Smith ’18, said, “She could have had a yacht and sailed the seven seas. She could have traveled extensively—with a stop-over now and then in Westerville. She could have had a liveried chauffeur, she could have entertained lavishly, she could have had a swimming pool in which to push her guests, but she chose instead to live among us quietly and has shared her abundant life with us.”

Frank once said, “I now know that the law of the universe is service, the atmosphere of service is peace, the miracle of service is that you are never defeated. In service nothing is lost; and this is the only way to usefulness, happiness and a really effective life.”

After his death in 1948, Vida continued their commitment to Otterbein. In 1956, Otterbein built Clements Hall, a residence hall for female students. When she died in 1968, the Clements Foundation and the Vida S. Clements Scholarship were established. Since 1971, the Clements’ home has proudly served as the residence of Otterbein presidents. The Clements Foundation was also instrumental in funding the construction of the Clements Recreation Center, which was dedicated in 2002.

The Clements’ legacy—their generous gifts, hearts and service—have touched countless lives in the Otterbein community.

Mary B Thomas Award Seal

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The Division of Institutional Advancement is located in Howard House at 131 W. Park St.

Office Hours
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Contact Donor Recognition 
Cathy Carson, Director of Donor Relations & Stewardship
p/ 614.823.1261