Butler University proudly announces that Clarence Crain ’73, a distinguished alumnus and dedicated community leader, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the Spring Commencement ceremonies at Hinkle Fieldhouse on May 10, 2024. In selecting honorary degree recipients, Butler University strives to celebrate individuals whose lives and work reflect the University’s core values and who have made tremendous accomplishments in scholarship, creativity, and public service, significantly benefiting or enriching a particular group or enhancing our larger society. 

Clarence Crain, a member of the Butler University Class of 1973, has significantly shaped both the University and the broader Indianapolis community through his profound dedication to higher education and civic involvement. Over the past fifty years, Mr. Crain has been a steadfast supporter of Butler University, serving in various capacities, including Vice Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, Trustee Emeritus, founding member of Butler University’s Black Alumni Association, and as an active advisor within several University councils and associations. 

As a student, Clarence stood out academically and athletically, contributing notably as a talented guard for the Butler Bulldogs and earning accolades such as the Most Valuable Player and the Hilton U. Brown Mental Attitude Award. 

Following a successful three-decade career at General Motors Corporation, Clarence transitioned to a role at Lilly Endowment Inc., serving as Program Director in the Education and Youth Programs Division. During his tenure, he played a critical role in supporting all 38 colleges and universities in Indiana and numerous community organizations that serve African American youth. His strategic leadership in grantmaking has bolstered educational opportunities across the state and helped uplift countless lives. 

In addition to his professional achievements, Clarence has been an active member and past President of the Indianapolis chapter of 100 Black Men of America, demonstrating his commitment to mentoring and community development. His myriad awards and accolades reflect his extensive contributions to society, including being named “Man of the Year” by the Indianapolis chapter of 100 Black Men of America and receiving the GM Award for Community Excellence. 

“Clarence is one of the most transformative figures in Butler University’s history,” said Butler University President James Danko. “Butler is a better place because of Clarence. His dedication and service have not only enriched our institution but have also enhanced the larger Indianapolis community and the state’s educational landscape.”