On Thursday, September 5, Saint Joseph’s held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open Clark’s Court. Situated near the center of campus, Clark’s Court is a basketball court built in remembrance of former student-athlete Clark Noonan. Originally from Bangor, Noonan was a Bangor High School basketball player before enrolling at Saint Joseph’s and playing for the Monks. He passed away tragically in a car accident in April of 2012.
Clark’s father, mother, sister and grandmother were joined on the blue and gold court by the college’s president, Dr. James Dlugos, athletics director Brian Curtin, and the college’s chaplain, Reverend John McHugh. A rainy morning had given way to a clear, blue afternoon sky.
Addressing a crowd of students, staff, faculty, alumni, friends and family, Brian Curtin described the court as a reflection of the college’s culture. “One of the core values at Saint Joseph’s is community, and this project is emblematic of that value,” Curtin said. “This court has been built in the name of one of our community members, and it has been built to be a popular place for the community to gather and enjoy. And for something like this to get accomplished, it requires a community.” Curtin said the “impassioned” effort of the project’s supporters proves how valuable and meaningful the court is to the extended college population.
Edward Noonan, Clark’s father, thanked the college for the court’s construction and for the zeal with which it was organized. He connected the development he saw in Clark as a college student with the significance the court can have going forward. “When Clark would come home,” he said, “we could start to see his transformation from a high school senior to the man he was becoming. It wasn’t necessarily just because he was growing older. He was maturing through the different opportunities he had here at school. It wasn’t just the men’s basketball team maturing him; it was you, his fellow classmates, and the facilities. It was a place where he could grow and discover who he was.”
Noonan continued: “College isn’t necessarily just about what happens in books. It’s about what happens in your head. And that’s what was happening for Clark – that formation of becoming a mature and capable adult. That’s why we think this project will help you go in that direction as well. It’s not just a court; it’s an opportunity for you to grow. It is the hope of our family that you will have the opportunity to use and grow with the court, and that it’s a real blessing to all of you.”
After cutting the ceremonial ribbon, Noonan did the first layup on the court – a perfect shot.
“This is a signal moment,” said President Dlugos. “It reflects what we can do when we come together as a community, and the wonderful progress we can make improving the space we share. And community, at the end of the day, ends where it begins – with people. We are a special place because we have special people.”
Clark’s Court was constructed with the help of many generous donations during the previous school year. In addition to individual and corporate support, Saint Joseph’s basketball program pledged all clinic proceeds and a percentage of proceeds from summer basketball camps to help build Clark’s Court. In addition, gate proceeds from the college’s 2012-2013 men’s and women’s basketball season were contributed to the construction cost.
“On behalf of the family,” said Noonan, “we want to say thank you so much for your generosity, for this memorial to our son.”