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Dr. Boone and his wife Blanche listen to speakers

Dr. Clarence Boone honored with room dedication at IU Northwest

Contributed By:Erika Rose, IU Northwest Office of Communications

Esteemed Gary physician spent career serving IU, medical education, and communities of Northwest Indiana

When Dr. Clarence Boone began medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine in 1952, he was one of only five African-Americans to do so. Of those, he was the only one to graduate in four years.

A well-known obstetrician/gynecologist who delivered hundreds of babies in the Gary area, Boone pushed through adversity and blazed a trail in the Northwest Indiana medical community over an impressive 35-year career. The Gary doctor showed his deep commitment to IU and IU Northwest in a number of ways, from serving the IU Board of Trustees, Alumni Association, IU Northwest Chancellor’s Cabinet, and IU Foundation Board of Directors, to helping minorities succeed by co-founding the Neal-Marshall Alumni Club, and raising funds for the Minority Scholarship Fund.

On Thursday, May 3, along with Blanche, his wife of 64 years, his son Clarence, Jr. and several of his grandchildren and other family members, Boone joined community leaders, educators and medical students for a reception in his honor. With gratitude for the beloved doctor’s life of service and dedication to IU, officials unveiled a placard introducing the newly named Dr. Clarence Boone Lecture Room on the second floor of the Dunes Medical and Professional Building on the Gary campus, home to IU School of Medicine-Northwest-Gary (IUSM-NW-G).

There to recount stories of Boone, and to celebrate his lifetime of achievements were: Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson; IU Northwest Chancellor William J. Lowe; IUSM-NW-G Associate Dean Patrick Bankston; Representative Charlie Brown; Dr. Steve Simpson; Clarence Boone, Jr., and many others.

Drawing parallels between Boone’s own life and that of the medical school, Bankston talked about IUSM-NW-G’s humble beginnings and Boone’s role in bringing medical education to Northwest Indiana.

“IUSM-NW-Gary was founded in 1972 with four students and four faculty members,” Bankston said. “I look around the room and very frankly, many of us would not be here if it weren’t for Dr. Clarence Boone. We owe a great debt of gratitude to a lot of folks who came before us whose perspicacity, whose vision, allowed us to be here today.”

Today’s IUSM-NW-G has about 80 students, Bankston said, who now have the ability to complete all four years of their training here, and the future holds the likelihood of them being able to complete their residency training in Northwest Indiana as well.

Boone, who also earned his undergraduate degree from IU, remained an active participant in the growth and development of IU, and especially its Gary campus, throughout his entire career. In 2003, he received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

His lengthy medical career included leadership positions at Gary Medical Specialists, Inc., the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Planned Parenthood of NWI, and Methodist Hospitals of Gary. In 2000, around the time he retired, Boone was inducted into the Steel City Hall of Fame.

Asked why he gave so tirelessly to IU as well as those pursuing medicine, Boone said he credits IU for being the foundation of what he is today. He explained that the reasons for his heavy service roles are rooted in his own humble beginnings.

“When you come from a family of limited means, you work hard, you get the support of individuals in the community, and you succeed in life, then you can understand what support from the outside truly means,” Boone said. “I am here today because of what others have done to help me to get where I am. Therefore, I feel that I am obliged to go back and help others along the way.”


Dr. Boone and his wife Blanche listen to speakers


Unveiling the sign are Chancellor William J. Lowe, left, and Associate Dean of IU School of Medicine – Northwest- Gary, Patrick Bankston

Story Posted:05/07/2018

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