Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Houston, Clarence P., 1892-1965
|Clarence P. Houston (1892-1965), A1914, affectionately known as "Pop" to generations of Tufts men and women, served the college as faculty member, department chair, director of the Second Century Fund, and as Tufts' first Vice President for Development.|
"Pop" Houston was born on a small ranch near Virgil, South Dakota, in 1892.His family moved to Methuen, Massachusetts, when he was seven years old. In preparation for his entrance into Tufts, Houston attended Dean Academy for one year. He distinguished himself as a fullback and guard for the Tufts football team from 1910 until he graduated in 1914.He then assumed the position of teacher and director of athletics in Adirondack, Florida, before serving as an officer in World War I.He received machine gun injuries that left him the hospital for eight months and plagued him throughout his lifetime. After the war, he obtained a law degree from Northeastern University and practiced with the Boston firm of Russell, Pugh, and Joslin.
In 1920, he returned to Tufts as a member of the faculty, teaching law, economics, and government, and was appointed athletic director the following year. He banned freshman from playing varsity football and placed Tufts on a schedule to play smaller colleges. In 1926, Houston was appointed Henry J. Baker Professor of Commercial Law and Chairman of the Department of Physical Education. In the 1950s, Houston chaired Tufts' first major capital fund-raising effort, known as the Second Century Fund, at the request of President Carmichael. The effort raised more than $4 million for the school. In 1954, Houston stepped down from his various positions on campus in order to become Tufts' first Vice President for Development. He retired on November 1, 1957, becoming Henry J. Baker Professor of Commercial Law, Emeritus.
Houston had a strong presence in several organizations aside from Tufts. In 1947, he took a one year leave of absence from the college in order to be chairman of the NCAA Compliance Committee for the enforcement of the "Sanity Code."He served as president of New England Conference of Athletics and was elected national president of the NCAA from 1955 to 1957.As a member of the United States Olympics committee, he accompanied the 1956 Olympics team to Australia. In 1960, he received the James Lynah Award from the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference for his contributions to athletic administration. He also was a recipient ofthe George C. Carens Award from the New England Football Writers Association for his contributions to football over the years.
Within the community, Houston served as president of the Franklin Square House from 1948 to 1955, president of the Somerville Community Council, and a trustee of Dean Academy. He was also a member of the first US Civil Service Region Board.
Houston served as Alumni Secretary, and donated the home, at 95 Talbot Avenue, which he and his wife Marion built in the early 1930s, to become Alumni House. He and his brother also established the Houston Scholarship. Houston Hall, an uphill domitory, was named in his honor.
Houston died on October 11, 1965, at his home in Tucson, Arizona.