SWE Fellow and Distinguished Member Yvonne (Y.Y.) Clark, P.E., 1929-2019

SWE's is saddened to hear that its first African-American member, Yvonne Young (Y.Y.) Clark, P.E., F.SWE, has died on Jan. 27, 2019, at the age of 89. Clark joined in 1952, just one year after graduating from Howard University, where she was the first woman to graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Yvonne Young (Y.Y.) Clark

SWE is saddened to learn of the passing of Yvonne Young (Y.Y.) Clark, P.E., F.SWE, on Jan. 27, 2019, at age 89. The Society’s first African-American member, Clark joined in 1952, just one year after graduating from Howard University where she was the first woman to graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering. Continuing to blaze new trails, Clark became the first female faculty member at Tennessee State University and the first woman to receive a master’s degree in engineering management from Vanderbilt University.

Yvonne Young (Y.Y.) Clark
Yvonne Clark, P.E, F.SWE, (center), and two attendees at the First International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists (ICWES) in New York City, New York, June 1964.

With careers in both industry and academia, Clark’s 55-year tenure at Tennessee State University’s College of Engineering and Technology earned her the title, “TSU’s First Lady of Engineering.” While at TSU she taught mechanical engineering, served as department chair twice, and was freshman advisor for all students entering the engineering program. She was an instrumental force in shaping the hearts and minds of all those who had the pleasure to be educated by her.

Clark was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 39 years, Bill Clark (William Freeman Clark, Jr.), and is survived by her brother, C. Milton Young III, M.D., and his wife, Waltraud, of Louisville, Kentucky; her children, Milton Hebert Clark Sr. and daughter Carol Yvonne Lawson, and son-in-law Eric Lawson; and grandchildren, Paris Nicole Lawson and Milton Hebert Clark Jr.

The celebration of her life service will be Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Nashville. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Y.Y. Clark Annual Engineering Scholarship Fund via check, sent to Darlene G. Harris-Vasser, assistant director of donor relations, TSU Foundation, 3500 John Merritt, Box 9542, Nashville, TN 37209, or by clicking here for those wishing to make donations.

An article describing Clark’s accomplishments and contributions was published last year in All Together. Clark also spoke of her experiences in two oral history interviews. A complete In Memoriam will be published in the Spring 2019 issue of SWE Magazine.

She will be fondly remembered in all our hearts and for her wonderful contributions to the field of engineering. We can all learn from her inspiring history and carry her spirit and memory forward into the future. May she rest in peace.