“You need to do something great.”
The advice of his late father really resonated with Richard Clarke ’82 as he approached age 50 in April. A few months and 19,350 feet later, Clarke reached great heights atop one of the world’s tallest mountains.
“Of all the things I’ve done, this was a killer,” said Clarke of scaling Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. “It was just so satisfying to get to the top.
“It was just breathtaking — you’re on top of the clouds,” he said.
The altitude and air made the four-day trek particularly difficult, even for the avid cyclist, runner and general adventurer.
To build his endurance in the months leading up to his climb, Clarke played
tennis — for four to five hours a day, most days of the week. The strategy proved effective in training for his 15-hour days walking up Kilimanjaro and developing a mean backhand.
Clarke nurtured his adventurous spirit at Oswego, where he loved cycling all over Upstate New York. Bicycle trips to Syracuse, Watertown and Canada are fond memories, he said.
Late Professor Emeritus Dr. Girgis Ghobrial had a huge influence on Clarke, who initially came to Oswego for meteorology and graduated with a degree in geography. On his trip that included a safari and a stop in Eygpt, Clarke recalled many of the stories Ghobrial, a native of the country, would tell about his homeland.
— Shane M. Liebler