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University seminar
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Brother Clarence Schenk, FSC

Pope extends possibilities
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Government funds 80% of Bay Area Planned Parenthood operations

placeholder  September 7, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 15   •   Oakland, CA

Brother Clarence Schenk, FSC

Brother Clarence Schenk, FSC

Brother Clarence Schenk, FSC, retired faculty member of the communication department and a beloved member of the Saint Mary's College of California community, died of natural causes on Aug. 21. He was 83.

At Saint Mary's, Brother Clarence is fondly remembered as the college's unofficial film historian. He owned a collection of 300 to 400 films, which he shared with students and community members in the small movie theater he built in the Brothers' residence. While the converted parlor only seated nine, Brother Clarence, an engineer who was handy with tools, ensured the comfort of the theater audience with a surround-sound audio system, a 25-foot digital projection screen, padded seats, and, of course, popcorn.

"Over the last several years, after he returned to the College as a retired Brother, he became a member of the Joseph Alemany Community of Brothers," said Alemany Community Director Brother Michael Meister. "Among the greater SMC community, I am sure he is remembered for The Brother Clarence Theater, where he enjoyed showing not only blockbuster films on the big screen, but films with a wide variety of educational and inspirational themes for faculty, staff and students."

"Brother Clarence was a kind and considerate individual and exemplified how we are connected at Saint Mary's," said President James Donahue.

Brother Clarence was born in Los Angeles in 1932. He recalled in an interview, several years ago, that his love of film began, in large part, because his hometown included Hollywood. "What else was there to do in the 1940s and '50s?" he said. "Our entertainment was going to the movie theaters." He worked in a movie theater as an usher after school and weekends when he was a freshman at Cathedral High School, a Christian Brothers school in downtown Los Angeles. He went on to become a Christian Brother in 1950. Brother Clarence was also an alumnus of Saint Mary's College, graduating in 1954.

He taught in several of the Brothers' high schools in California, including De La Salle High School in Concord. "Within a short time, the entire school was wired for closed-circuit TV and every classroom had a set mounted high in one of the corners," said Brother Meister, a former principal at De La Salle.

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