Ava Milam Clark

Ava Milam Clark (November 27, 1884 - August 14, 1976)

Ava Milam Clark was the Dean of the School of Home Economics at Oregon State for over 30 years, and through her frequent visits abroad, was instrumental to the development of home economics in multiple countries. After serving in many high-profile leadership roles in multiple organizations, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, she married J.C. Clark late in life and died in 1976.

Born in 1884 in Macon County, Missouri, Milam graduated from the University of Chicago in 1910 and went on for graduate study, leaving with a Master of Arts in 1911. She came to Oregon Agricultural College shortly thereafter as a faculty member in the burgeoning Home Economics department. She assumed the deanship of this school in 1917, and oversaw the school until her retirement in 1950.

In 1951 and 1952, continued a career-long interest in international development by serving as a home economics advisor to the governments of Syria and Iraq for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and later visiting Lebanon and Egypt in this role.

In 1952 she was reacquainted with Jesse Claude (J. C.) Clark, whom she had met in China in 1922 while he was heading the Young Men's Christian Association in China. After a brief courtship, J.C. and Ava were married on November 1, 1952. The couple traveled extensively during their short marriage, visiting many countries that she had traveled to throughout her career. J.C. died after a brief illness on August 29, 1956. Ava Milam Clark passed away in 1976.