Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert issued the following statement upon learning of the death of Dr. Betty Jane Cleckley, former university vice president for multicultural affairs and international programs:
“Dr. Cleckley is being remembered on our campus and across the nation as a lifelong advocate for social justice and a voice for those who often felt unable to speak for themselves. While I never had the pleasure of meeting her, Dr. Cleckley was certainly an iconic force at Marshall, loved and respected by generations of colleagues and students. Her legacy and foundational work continue today at Marshall, where we value each person for who they are and welcome everyone as an important member of our community.”
A native of Huntington and a graduate of Douglass High School, Cleckley earned a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University in 1958 and a master’s degree in social work from Smith College. She was awarded a doctorate from Brandeis University and followed that up with a postdoctoral certificate in higher education management from Harvard University.
Prior to joining Marshall in 1989, she was an associate dean in the School of Social Work at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville before moving on to Nashville’s Meharry Medical College.
The recipient of many local, regional and national awards for her work in public service and scholarship, Cleckley retired from Marshall in October 2007.