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Published: Saturday, 5/17/2008

Recruiter for BGSU encouraged minority students to get degrees

Clarence Terry, Jr., 59, who in 23 years as director of multicultural recruitment encouraged thousands of minority students to enroll at Bowling Green State University, died Tuesday in the Cleveland Clinic from complications of cancer.

Mr. Terry of Sylvania Township visited high schools and families across the nation in his efforts to recruit students of color. A network of alumni - students he'd recruited - told him of prospects.

"I've had people calling me from all over the country, saying how wonderful he had been to their family and [how he] helped their children," his wife, Ardenia Jones Terry, said.

Many said he was the reason they could go to college.

"He loved Bowling Green State University and felt that [it] embraced what he was attempting to do, which was to bring in African-American, Latino, and Native-American students," said his wife, who is a retired associate vice president of student affairs at the University of Toledo.

Mr. Terry spoke from experience. A graduate of John Hay High School in his native Cleveland, he was recruited by BGSU to attend.

"That really defined him," said Gary Swegan, BGSU director of admissions - that he was able to attend BGSU and, in turn, wanted "to provide that opportunity to a multitude of other students."

Mr. Terry received a bachelor's degree from BGSU and afterward was a financial aid adviser in the student development program. He became director of the program and its successor, which was assigned to the admissions office.

Once recruits were students, he encouraged their success.

"Students felt such an affinity for him that very frequently you'd see a junior, a senior [with him] who just needed to be steered in the right direction," said Mr. Swegan, who was a graduate student in 1986 when he met Mr. Terry.

"He was not about just bringing in a revolving door of students to meet a goal," Mr. Swegan said. "He very strongly believed that ultimately the goal was to get a degree."

Mr. Terry received a master's degree from BGSU in college student personnel.

He was a member of Amazon Lodge, F&AM.

He was a charter member of New Horizon United Methodist Church.

Surviving are his wife, Ardenia Jones Terry, whom he married Sept. 28, 1974, and sisters, Theresa Pawnell and Lillie Terry.

The body will be in the C. Brown Funeral Home, Toledo, after 4 p.m. tomorrow, with Masonic services at 7 p.m. in the mortuary. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday in St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, with wake services at 10 a.m. Monday.

The family suggests tributes to the BGSU Office of Admissions, where a scholarship fund for minority students will be established in Mr. Terry's name.



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