Remembering Dr. Clarence Talley

Dr. Clarence Talley

Dear Faculty, Students and Friends of LALS:

It is with tremendous sadness that I share the news with you that on Friday, January 28, 2011, we lost our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Clarence Talley, a professor in the Department of Sociology and a founding member of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program. Dr. Talley served on the first committee that was convened in 2000 to create a program in Latin American Studies, under the direction of Dr. Joy Carew, and years later he worked with us to add Latino Studies to our program offerings. He served as an integral member of our LALS Steering Committee for more than a decade and has supported our program in so many ways. He was always a source of inspiration and exuded kindness with his broad, warm smile.

For years, my usual encounters with Clarence were not during meeting times, but during brief late afternoon encounters on the sidewalk between the Humanities Building and Lutz Hall. Clarence would be on his way home, and I would be heading to my car to do the same, but we always took time to chat and send each other on our way with a warm embrace. I will miss his smile, his laughter, his encouraging words, and his profound sense of justice. Although Clarence cannot grace us any longer with his remarkable presence, his spirit will live on in all of us who had the good fortune of calling him our friend and colleague. I know that he touched the lives of everyone who had the privilege of working with him and enriched the minds of all the students who had the honor of taking one of his classes.

Rhonda Buchanan
Director of Latin American and Latino Studies

"It seems like a miracle that in the middle of one of our coldest winters that all of a sudden the sun brightens our weekend with a warmth that is very unusual for this time of year.  It's the same kind of warmth that Clarence brought every time he entered into the room. He changed our environment with his pleasing smile and loving heart every time he accompanied us.  He brightened our demeanor and always encouraged the brighter side of things.  At first I was saddened to hear that he passed on but when I went outside today I stood under the extremely bright sun in a clear blue sky and it really grabbed my attention—just like Clarence always did."

-Ben Ruiz, CEO and Creative Director of Adhawks Advertising & Public Relations, Inc. and Latin American and Latino Studies Steering Committee member

"Dr. T. was such a fantastic teacher, and so much fun. He was so passionate and energetic, but also I'll never forgot how alive he was. Every day was a blessing for him. I'm not sure if he ever truly understood what stress was because he never seemed to suffer from it. This love and appreciation for life, however, was contagious!

Pericles once said, 'What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.' I'll never forget his words echoing in my head from the courses I took with him, in particular social theory. As my teacher, he was instrumental in helping me develop my love of sociology, and I will greatly miss him. But his spirit is still within me, woven into my life and indeed the lives of all of his students.

I was really looking forward to seeing him when I got home from the Middle East. He was a true inspiration, and his character is one that could never be eclipsed by anyone."

-Michael Oghia, 2009 UofL Graduate and Panama Scholar

"Dr. Talley was a bright person in many ways. His passion for taking science outside of the classroom was contagious. He inspired me to try to make knowledge work towards improving life conditions of others. What I learned from him and from his wife, Dr. Theresa is invaluable for me. Now, when sadness comes to when I think that he is not here any more, my heart rejoices in realizing how lucky I was to meet him, to work with him, to be guided by him."
-Lorena Isabel Toro, MA in Sociology and LALS Graduate Certificate

Please consider sending a contribution in Dr. Talley’s memory to:

The Dr. Clarence Talley Scholarship Fund

The Lincoln Foundation, 200

W. Broadway, Suite 500

Louisville.KY 40202

If you would like to post a comment about Dr. Talley on the LALS Webpage, please send an email to

Our hearts go out to Dr. Talley’s, especially to his wife Dr. Theresa Rajack-Talley, Chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies and long-time member of the LALS family.

Photo of Dr. Clarence Talley courtesy of Dr. Gabriela Nuñez, taken at the Latin American Latino Studies Spring Showcase, Spring 2010.