In Memoriam: Clarence "Earl" Carter, assistant dean in the College of Science

Author: Deanna Csomo McCool

Clarence “Earl” Carter, 61, assistant dean for faculty affairs and special projects in the College of Science, died unexpectedly on Thursday, May 14, at his home.

Clarence Earl Carter

After a long career in the United States Navy, Carter joined the University faculty in 2011 as a professor of naval science and commanding officer for the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit (NROTC). He became an assistant dean in 2013, where he served in a chief of staff role for matters pertaining to the College of Science faculty. He coordinated special events and projects, and assisted in the college’s strategic planning. He served as interim managing director of the Notre Dame Haiti program from 2013 to 2015.

“Above all, Earl was a very kind and generous person who lived his faith,” said Mary Galvin, William K. Warren Foundation Dean of the College of Science. “His compassion was evident through his interactions with faculty, staff, and students, and he had a way of listening and advising that solved many problems and healed wounds.

“From my start at Notre Dame, I turned to Earl for guidance and advice. He made the college and all of us better, and will be forever missed.”

During his 32-year naval career, Carter was a submariner whose career highlights included serving as commanding officer of the nuclear-powered submarine USS Scranton (SSN-756), leading its crew on the first mission to the North Pole by a Los Angeles Class submarine, and later serving as commander of Submarine Squadron Eight, comprising 10 fast-attack submarines and their crews. Carter earned a number of medals, awards and commendations before retiring in 2012.

“He truly and sincerely felt rewarded by his ability to influence and shape future Navy and Marine Corps leaders,” said Capt. Mark A. Prokopius, professor of naval science and commanding officer of Notre Dame’s NROTC unit. “He continued his engagement by donating an officer’s sword to a senior who consistently demonstrated the highest standards of leadership, initiative, professionalism, and service before self.

“I cannot think of better words than those to describe Earl Carter.”

In his role as assistant dean in the College of Science, he worked closely with the Notre Dame Office of the Provost, including Christine Maziar, vice president and senior associate provost for budget and planning. As an academic administrator, Carter wore several hats and switched gears often, which he did with ease.

“You don’t carry ‘special projects’ in your title without being that special kind of person who can be assigned some of the toughest, often irregular, and usually undefined assignments without complaint, and Earl was one of those special people,” Maziar said.

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Capt. Clarence “Earl” Carter, right, in 2013 with President Emeritus Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., center

Carter was a passionate advocate for the College of Science in a quiet and understated way, noted Maura Ryan, vice president and associate provost for Faculty Affairs. “He never overlooked a detail, and I greatly appreciated Earl’s wisdom and experience,” she said.

He was also an advocate for the Notre Dame Haiti Program, which has culminated in the Bon Sel Dayiti Salt Project. The project fortifies salt to reduce iodine deficiencies, and to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF), a disease of the immune system that causes swelling of the limbs, breasts, and genitals, and is a leading cause of disability in the world. He worked tirelessly for the cause, according to four close associates: James Reimer, director of the Salt Project, Jean Marc Brissau, former Notre Dame Haiti country manager, and David O’Brien and Chip Wirth, volunteers.

He was completely committed to health and welfare of the people of Haiti, according to O’Brien.

“He deeply believed he was serving Christ through our work,” he said. “He was always available on both a professional and personal basis to discuss the issues at hand, and I cannot stress enough what he meant to both myself and my family.”

In addition, Carter was involved with the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund, which is dedicated to funding medical research projects to find a treatment for Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC) disease. He often assisted with the yearly golf outing, the Parseghian Classic in Pebble Beach, California. The outing is a major fundraising event for the organization.

“Earl’s forever smile and his heart of gold defined him,” said Cindy Parseghian, president of the fund. “His volunteer efforts with many of the Parseghian Fund events made them a success. Whether he was coordinating event logistics, acting as our photographer, or soliciting donations, he was always upbeat and willing to quietly help in any way.”

His colleagues will remember Carter for his generosity. He often shared Notre Dame athletics tickets, sent friendly and personal cards, or mentioned kind words about details he remembered about them and their significant others.

“Christmas will certainly not be the same this year without a late December visit from Earl to bestow a special Notre Dame-themed Christmas ornament on us,” Maziar said. “He will be missed for so many reasons, but hanging those ornaments on the tree this year will probably bring a lump to many throats in the ND family.”

Carter is survived by his wife, Lea, his two daughters, Alora and Ciera, a son, Joseph, and his sister, Kathryn Carter.

Visitation will take place from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at Grace Church, 52025 Gumwood Road, Granger. Funeral services will take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 28 at Grace Church, and be live streamed: Burial will take place at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.

Contributions in his memory may be made to Boy Scouts of America, LaSalle Council #165, 1340 South Bend Avenue, South Bend, IN, 46617, or Grace Church, 52025 Gumwood Road, Granger, IN, 46530. They may also be made to the Haiti Salt Program online at, by phone at (574) 631-5150, or by mail at University of Notre Dame, Department of Development, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN, 46556.


Originally published by Deanna Csomo McCool at on May 18, 2020.