By David Denson, Gary Crusader
Retired physician Dr. Clarence Boone was honored for his dedication to Indiana University Northwest and to the community at large. During the ceremony held Thursday, May 4 at IUN, a lecture room for IUN medical students was named in his honor.
Boone is a graduate of Indiana University and the university’s medical school where he was one of five African Americans in the School of Medicine, and the only one to graduate in four years.
“IU was very important in my development in getting where I am today. It is the foundation of what I am today,” said Boone.”
In addition to his successful career in the field of obstetrics and gynecology, Boone has been in the forefront of promoting diversity within and amongst alumni.
Boone is the co-founder and former president of the Neal-Marshall Alumni Association. He has served as a member of the IU Board of Trustees; chairman of the IU Alumni Association; member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet; and as a member of the IU Foundation Board of Directors.
Boone served on the board of Planned Parenthood for a number of years and was an active supporter of the organization.
He said he became involved after seeing the negative side of abortions because women had no access to safe pre- and post-natal care. According to Boone, “Planned Parenthood offered a service to a lot of individuals who would not otherwise have received it. If you had to take care of women who had an illegal abortion, and witnessed the agony they had to go through, well, we began to set up a facility to accommodate them in a decent and professional way,” he said.
In addition to his recent honors, Boone is the recipient of the Chancellor’s Medallion, the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award and the IUAA President’s Award.
When told that he would be honored, Boone said his first response was “why?” “But I appreciate it, and it’s good to be remembered in such good terms. But I ask the proverbial question, “why me?”
Boone got the answer to the question of “why me” at a reception held for him in the lecture room named after him.
“Many of us would not be here if it were not for Dr. Clarence Boone. He and several other doctors in the area had the idea for a medical school here at IUN, and they put things together and created the legislation that created the medical school,” said Dr. Patrick Bankston, head of IUN’s school of medicine.
State Representative Charlie Brown has known Boone on a professional level as well as a personal one. Boone delivered Brown’s daughter, and they attended the same church. “I think about the struggle we had maintaining medical services here in the city of Gary and those rough times when services had expanded to Merrillville and was diminishing services here.
We had a rough time convincing them; almost fighting with them to maintain services here in Gary, and Dr. Boone was there to help us in our fight.”
Continuing his tribute, Brown said, “Finally, as we are here honoring Dr. Clarence Boone the most important person is Blanche Boone. You have to give her credit for all of the things that Clarence has accomplished during these many years. So my hat is off to you.”
“It is one thing to achieve professional success but it is totally a different thing to sow into a community that is responsible for that success, and Dr. Boone has been a trail blazer and a shining example of the importance of doing both,’’ said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.