Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

W. Hal Knight

Committee Members

Eric S. Glover, Joseph D. Sobol, Kathryn K. Franklin


While there are facts that are known about Claudius Greer Clemmer, there is much that is not known. By most accounts, he was a generous man who grew up during some of the hardest years of the Great Depression, worked to get an education, and had a successful teaching career. Clemmer worked diligently to do what he could to support himself and his family, working at two jobs. When his career track changed from teaching to business, in 1946, he experienced success in business and investments, sharing that wealth with East Tennessee State University and others. The intent of this qualitative study was to learn about the life of Claudius Greer Clemmer, and determine the events of his lifetime that made him who he was. The examination of his life was grounded by a series of six research questions that framed the study and expanded to include his family and work:

  1. What influenced him to pursue high educational standards?
  2. What influenced his view of education?
  3. What contributed to his philanthropy?
  4. What are people's perceptions about his life and work?
  5. Who influenced him, and in what way?
  6. Who was influenced by him, and in what way?

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory outlines five levels of basic need, beginning with physiological needs, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem, and finishing with the highest level at self-actualization, which is described as accomplishing all that one can accomplish. Maslow's theory describes Clemmer, as he had either achieved or was as close to self-actualization as possible. While the author was considering that he had accomplished self-actualization, it was expressed first by his son and acknowledged later during interviews with friends and associates. The study is significant in that there are no other studies about the life of Claudius Greer Clemmer. Research findings will be of interest to many, including the Clemmer family, the East Tennessee State University family, friends, and alumni of the Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education, along with individuals interested in biography, oral history, and philanthropy.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.