Wabash Mourns Passing of Former Dean

March 11, 2011

Richard "Dick" P. Traina, of Worcester, passed away on Tuesday March 8, 2011 at the Overlook LifeCare Community in Charlton, Mass., after a long experience with cancer. He was 73.

Born on June 3, 1937, in San Francisco, Traina was the only son of the late Frank and Isabelle Thomas Traina. He is survived by his wife, Margaret Warner (Polly) Traina and three children: Cristina Traina Hutchison, Matthew Warner Traina and Michael Derek Traina, and 13 grandchildren. A daughter, Michelle Traina Riecke, predeceased him.

A specialist in American diplomatic history, Traina earned both his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in History from the University of California at Berkeley, in 1960 and 1964, respectively, after receiving his Bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University in 1958. He began his career by serving on the faculty of Wabash College (1963-74), and spent his last five years there as Dean of the college. Subsequently, he served as the chief academic officer at Franklin and Marshall College.
 
From 1984 to 2000, Traina served as the seventh President of Clark University, and guided the University through a period of remarkable growth. He put particular emphasis on faculty and educational program support, the construction and renovation of physical facilities, international programs, endowment growth and community and neighborhood development. During his tenure, the University’s endowment grew from $20 million to $150 million. Traina also oversaw the endowment of three new schools - the Hiatt School of Psychology, the Higgins School of Humanities, and the Carlson School of Chemistry - and the number of endowed chairs for faculty rose from two to provision for 15. Most importantly, through his example and under his directive, Clark began working with its neighbors to establish the University Park Partnership (UPP) - a partnership which has brought renewed vitality to the Main South neighborhood. UPP has since become a national model for university/community partnerships for urban revitalization. Under his leadership, Clark helped establish the Main South Community Development Corporation, a vehicle organized to stimulate affordable housing and small business development in Clark’s surrounding neighborhood.
 
Shortly after his retirement in 2000, the University renovated the site of the former Downing Street School and renamed it in his and his wife’s honor. The facility improved and expanded the University’s arts facilities with more centralized, better-equipped spaces for study, creation, performance and presentation of work. Today it serves as the artistic hub of the campus. The Trainas later endowed funds to host both Shakespeare acting companies and musical groups in residence at the University in alternate years.
 
In the spring of 2005, Traina published "Changing the World: Clark University’s Pioneering People, 1887-2000", a catalog of biographical essays and photographs of the giants of the University’s history who built Clark’s reputation for challenging conventional wisdom and changing our understanding of the world. The book features well-known Clark figures including G. Stanley Hall, Robert Goddard, Albert Michelson and Gregory Pincus, and other, sometimes lesser-known but equally transformative individuals. He is also the author of "American Diplomacy and the Spanish Civil War" (Greenwood Press 1980) and was coeditor with Armin Rappaport, of "Present in the Past: Source Problems in American History" (Macmillan 1972).
 
Among his many professional affiliations, Traina was a member of the Council on Competitiveness, and served as chair of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts (AICUM), the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
 
From 2001 to 2006, he was a trustee of the George L. Alden Trust. He chaired the boards of the Colleges of Worcester Consortium, the Worcester Area Chamber of Commerce and the Alliance for Education. He served on the boards of the Worcester Municipal Research Bureau and the American Antiquarian Society, and was a member of the Non-Profit Support Center of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation. He was an active supporter of the Worcester Center for Crafts, and a member of St. Joseph’s Parish in Charlton Center.
 
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th floor, Brookline, MA 02445-7226; or to the Levine Cancer Center at UMass/Memorial Hospital, 119 Belmont Street, Worcester, MA 01605; or to Overlook Hospice Services, P.O Box 1000, Charlton, MA 01507.
 
A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 12, 2011 in St. Peter’s Church, 929 Main St., Worcester. A reception will follow immediately after in Tilton Hall of Higgins University Center on the Clark University campus. Burial in Hope Cemetery will be at a later date. Caswell-King Funeral Home, 474 Grove St. is directing arrangements.

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