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John J. Clague '67 and Lexi V. Clague '67 - Bequest

John J. Clague '67 and Lexi V. Clague '67 - Bequest

Keeping Up With the Clagues

Growing up in San Diego, John J. Clague '67 lived sufficiently close enough to Oxy that he could drive his laundry home on weekends. "His mother was thrilled-sort of!" his wife of 51 years, Lexi V. (Chatlos) '67, recalls with a laugh. A native of Tucson, Lexi enrolled at Oxy, like John, uncertain of her future plans. "We both did well in high school but, being the early 1960s, did not know what we wanted to do with our lives," she says from the couple's home in West Vancouver, British Columbia. "Fortunately, our parents were determined to ensure that we would pr osper, and they sacrificed much to provide us the opportunity to be the best we could be." Lexi would major in sociology, while John began as a math major, his first love. But when he took an introductory elective course in geology taught by Joseph Birman, John was instantly "hooked," he says. Birman became John's first professional men- tor, and the Clagues had the good fortune of visiting with him not long before his passing in 2015.

After graduating with a geology degree, John pursued a master's degree at UC Berkeley, followed by a Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia. History of Civilization, Russian, Psychology, and many other non-science courses were the catalyst for his quest for knowledge that drives his studies in Quaternary and environ- mental Earth sciences to this day as the Shrum Research Professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. On a reconnaissance field trip to Baja California led by professor of geology William Morris, John and his classmates set out to locate and investigate sites near El Rosario some 200 miles south of the border, which was known to contain Cretaceous-age dinosaur fossil beds. In the early 1960s, "the main highway along the length of the peninsula was not paved," John re- calls. "About halfway down the peninsula to our destination, we encountered heavy rain that turned the highway into a muddy swamp. We ended up stuck, sleeping in our Dodge Power Wagon on the road, unable to go forward or back." Morris and his class reluctantly aborted the trip, he says, "although we did return in better weather the following summer."

"Occidental provided us with the tools needed to achieve success in our careers," adds John, who with Lexi has included Oxy in their estate planning. "Our education provided us with skills that may not be appreciated today-the ability to see connections across disciplines, to see the forest for the trees. Now we have the opportunity to give back in a significant way. There are few better gifts one can make than to help well deserving, bright young men and women achieve their educational goals and contribute to making the world a better place for all. "We are optimistic about the quality of today's Oxy students," Lexi adds. "We think they are better prepared to move the world forward than we were 50 years ago. Io Triumphe!"


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