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Alain Barker
IU Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Tuesday, May 1, 2007

IU Jacobs School of Music honors centenarian employee Helen Clouse

May 1, 2007

Helen Clouse

Photo by: Allison Cooke

Helen Clouse

Print-Quality Photo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- What becomes a legend most? How about prime real estate in the heart of the Indiana University campus, where she has served students at the Jacobs School of Music for nearly a half century?

Today (May 1) at 10 a.m., the Jacobs School of Music will dedicate the "Helen Clouse Plaza" in front of the Music Practice Building on Third Street, between Ballantine and Hawthorne. Clouse has assisted IU music students and scheduling their practice rooms since 1960. May 1 is her 100th birthday.

Generations of students, faculty and staff have been touched by Clouse's devotion to the School of Music, said Gwyn Richards, dean of the school.

"Helen embodies the spirit of Indiana University," said Richards. "She cares so deeply about this place and the people within. Over 46 years, she has touched the students of our school in a most caring way, developing a bond that continues well beyond graduation. In a very real way, she has become an extended member of student families, with calls, visits and mailings providing a steady flow of contact."

Retirement never was on Helen Clouse's radar until recently. On July 1, she plans to bring her long career at IU to a close in order to stay at home and write.

Benny Clark, who has worked closely with Clouse for nearly 14 years, says she has diligently kept her 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., four-day work schedule as long as he has known her. He said that "her sincere interest in accommodating and caring for the individual" made her a favorite among students and faculty.

Charles Webb, dean emeritus, was on the faculty when Clouse first started working at the school.

"She and I go back to the beginning," said Webb, who served as dean for 24 years. "In addition to being a warm and caring person, and sometimes a surrogate mother to the students, Helen immediately grasped the importance of practice to musicians -- it's vital to their success. And all practice rooms are not the same -- a room that would be perfect for a doctoral piano student is not likely to be the same room that would be best for an oboist. I think it's fair to say that the consistently stellar ranking of the Jacobs School of Music is due in no small part to the ability of Helen Clouse to match our gifted students with the optimum practice conditions."

The naming will be commemorated with a plaque reading, "In recognition of 46 years of extraordinary service to the students, staff and faculty of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, this space shall be known as Helen Clouse Plaza. Dedicated on her 100th birthday, May 1, 2007."