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Honoring his crowning achievement

Scholarship helps preserve the legacy of Clem Arend, ’84, one of Stritch's first PMA graduates

by Kathleen Hohl

As one of the first graduates from Cardinal Stritch University’s innovative Programs in Management for Adults (PMA) in 1984, the late Clem Arend fulfilled a long sought after dream of earning a college degree to complement his successful career at Delco Electronics, later known as Delphi Automotive.

To honor his father’s commitment to education, Clem’s son, Bob, ’01, ’04, established the Clem J. Arend, ’84, Scholarship Fund to support Stritch students.

Arend Clem 1984
Arend quote

“Keeping my dad’s legacy alive through this scholarship is important to me and my wife, Christine,” Bob said. “I look forward to meeting the students who receive the scholarship so I can share my dad’s story, which hopefully will influence them as it has me and our family.”

Age 51 when he earned his bachelor’s degree, Clem often referred to it as one of his crowning achievements. A graduate of St. Robert Elementary School in Shorewood and Messmer High School in Milwaukee, Clem had a long and varied career at Delco/Delphi, with much of his work coming in the field of electrical engineering.

He and his family moved to Puget Sound, Washington, where Clem trained Boeing staff on systems maintenance. He transferred back to Greendale, Wisconsin, and began attending Stritch. After earning his degree, he accepted a contract assignment in London, where he spent close to three years. After retiring, he moved back to the state of Washington with his wife, Evelyn, where the couple spent their later years.

Clem inspires his children

Clem’s persistence served as an inspiration for Bob, one of Clem and Evelyn’s six children. Clem’s success and experience influenced Bob’s decision to pursue his education at Stritch. Bob grew up in Franklin and moved with his family to the state of Washington before returning to Wisconsin to embark on a career in construction, working jobs in Illinois and Wisconsin with his uncle.

<p>Michael, Christine, Alyssa and Bob, '01, '04, Arend</p>

Michael, Christine, Alyssa and Bob, '01, '04, Arend

<p>The Bob Arend family</p>

The Bob Arend family

<p>Clem Arend, '84</p>

Clem Arend, '84

<p>Christine and Bob, '01, '04 Arend</p>

Christine and Bob, '01, '04 Arend

“I worked for many years in construction and was very familiar with a number of aspects in the industry,” Bob said. “I wanted to get into a managerial role and knew I needed a college education to do that.”

While working in the multi-family sector of the construction industry, Bob enrolled at Stritch.

“It really was fortuitous timing,” Bob reflected. “As I was being offered new opportunities at work, I could apply more and more of what I was learning to my job.”

Bob earned an associate degree in business in 2001 and completed a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2004.

“Stritch was a very ‘user-friendly’ University,” Bob said. “The staff was helpful at my first meeting and helped me narrow my focus. They were committed to helping me make it work with two children and a full-time, demanding career. And, having professors who were working brought relevant practical experience into the classroom.

“I definitely use my accounting degree when I am working with developers and owners. Having the financial background and construction expertise is extremely beneficial. I utilize what I learned on a daily basis.”

Bob and Christine, and their children Michael and Alyssa, have made their home in Franklin, a southwest suburb of Milwaukee, since 1993. Bob has been involved in some of the biggest developments in his hometown, including The Ballpark Commons, the Shoppes at Wyndham Village, Brenwood Senior Apartments and Brenwood Park Assisted Living. He and Christine launched CMR, a construction management firm, in 2017.

Clem’s daughter, Mary, had similar educational aspirations, returning to college in her late 40s, earning a bachelor’s degree in education in 2003 from Antioch University, a master’s degree in education in 2005 from Lesley University, and administrative certification in 2013 from St. Martin’s University.

“I wasn’t ready for college when I graduated from high school,” Mary said. “I didn’t know what career path I wanted to focus on, and didn’t have the money to spend in casual pursuit. Instead I got married and raised a family, just like my dad. I was 48 years old when I decided to go back to school and, boy, was I ready! I thoroughly enjoyed bringing decades of life experiences to the classroom and ended up graduating with a 3.98 GPA.”

Mary believes that our nation’s colleges and universities understand that post-high school education is relevant at any age, but especially challenging to older adults, like her father. She concedes that working full time while attending school is an exercise in time and resource management, but worth every sacrifice.

Costs associated with higher education at any age can be daunting.

“In my role as principal of a small Catholic elementary school in Seattle, I had the opportunity to speak with many immigrant families who understood these sacrifices,” Mary said. “Hopes and dreams for their children included the honor of witnessing the first college graduate in the family. We worked collaboratively to ensure that their dreams became a reality.”

Too often in our society, people invest in things that can be lost through fiscal mismanagement. But a college education is an investment that no one can take away. Clem understood this and experienced it firsthand.

The Clem Arend Scholarship Fund was established for the purpose of helping those individuals who truly desire a college education, and whose limited resources might otherwise prevent that from happening.

To learn more about honor and memorial scholarship opportunities at Cardinal Stritch University, visit or contact Cardinal Stritch University Advancement to start a discussion at (414) 410-4939.