David Clayman '38, 1917-2011

David Clayman, who founded Advocates for Harvard ROTC, died on 10 January 2011 at Lawrence General Hospital in Massachusetts.  He was 93. 

He started Advocates for Harvard ROTC in 1988 as an outgrowth of a Harvard ROTC alumni club.  In the January / February 1998 issue of Harvard Magazine, David announced that Advocates for Harvard ROTC had started a campaign to get Harvard to bring back ROTC.  Interest in the effort picked up after 9/11, drawing major attention in a 4 October 2001 front page article in the Wall Street Journal about the ROTC effort at Harvard, featuring David and his Harvard classmate Caspar Weinberger.  David described the ROTC effort in a Harvard Magazine article in 2002:

The Advocates for Harvard ROTC seek "the complete acceptance of ROTC by Harvard," says David Clayman ’38, the founder and chair of the group, which issued its first newsletter in the fall. "We want ROTC to be respected by the College. It isn’t about money, although the present arrangement is clumsy and awkward. It’s a symbolic matter."

Shortly after taking office, Harvard President Lawrence Summers met with Clayman and Summers went on to indicate support of the ROTC effort in public and private on numerous occasions. The Advocates grew to over 2,000 members, and was instrumental in many advances for ROTC at Harvard over the years, including upgrading the annual ROTC Commissioning Ceremony to include presidents of Harvard and notables such as Gen. David Petraeus, and launching the Annual Harvard National Security Fellow - ROTC Cadet Mentorship Breakfasts

The ROTC effort was taken up at other top colleges, and at David's urging the national umbrella group Advocates for ROTC was started in 2002, with founding members Advocates for Harvard ROTC, Advocates for Yale ROTC and Advocates for Columbia ROTC.

The mission of Advocates for Harvard ROTC is to "foster an atmosphere supportive of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps at Harvard".  The mission got high level support on 18 November 2010 when Harvard President Drew Faust announced that "an ROTC program open to all ought to be fully and formally present on our campus", a commitment echoed by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, who responded that "I think it is incredibly important to have ROTC units at institutions like this.  I think President Faust has made it very clear and I certainly would do all in my power to make that happen."

During World War II, David taught meteorology and celestial navigation as a civilian instructor in the navy.  He went on to have three careers:  He ran a highly successful vending machine business.  He joined Wang Laboratories, and used his sales abilities to help the company become one of the early leaders in the office computer business.  He then taught at Lawrence High School, turning the school into a pioneer in teaching calculus, probability and statistics to high school students, and introduced similar innovations later at Methuen High School. 

He gave very generously to Harvard, establishing a scholarship fund to support students attending Harvard who come from Lawrence and surrounding communities.  He was forever grateful for the opportunity to get a Harvard education despite his father dying while he was a teenager. 

David remained involved with the ROTC effort to his final days.  Four days before his death he had long discussions of the implications of the major advances in the ROTC effort in the preceding weeks, and he brainstormed about ways to increase the number of students interested in ROTC attending Harvard.

The funeral was held on Thursday 13 January at Temple Emanuel in Andover.  In lieu of flowers, the Jewish custom is to honor the deceased with donations in their name to their favorite charities, in this case organizations such as The Harvard ROTC Alumni Fund and Harvard University.

Some notable photos are here, here, here, here and here.